Privatization Minister Reviews Progress of Privatization Program

Federal Minister for Privatization, Mohammed Mian Soomro chaired a comprehensive meeting on Wednesday to review the status of the ongoing privatization program.

The Federal Minister was briefed on the entities from the financial, industrial, and power sectors on the active privatization list. He was told that for the sale of remaining federal government properties, the Financial Advisory Services Agreement had been signed with M/s HLB Ijaz Tabassum & Co. on December 28, 2021.

The meeting was apprised that for the divestment of 20% of government shares in Pakistan Reinsurance Co. Ltd. (PRCL), the State Life Ins. Corp. (SLIC) management/Ministry of Commerce was yet to confirm that they did not intend to divest 24.4% shareholding of SLIC in PRCL to maintain strategic shareholding of the Government of Pakistan in PRCL.

The requisite information, it was told, was awaited to proceed with the re-evaluation of PRCL shares by financial advisors, which subsequently would be approved by the Privatization Commission Board and the Competition Commission of Pakistan (CCoP).

It was briefed that Expressions of Interest (EOIs) had been published for House Building Finance Company Ltd. (HBFCL), and some parties had indicated their intention for submitting EOI. It was highlighted that the deadline, however, was January 31 and the privatization process was likely to be completed in June 2022. Besides, it was revealed that the updated matter relating to the Heavy Electrical Complex (HEC) would be placed before the upcoming Privatization Commission Board meeting. The Board would also consider the pre-qualification of investors for Pakistan Steel Mills.

The meeting was informed that for proceeding with the privatization of Sindh Engineering Limited (SEL), there were certain prior actions to be completed by the Ministry of Industries and Production. Moreover, the Privatisation Board had already approved the hiring of financial advisors for the transaction of SEL.

The Federal Minister was also apprised of the status of National Power Parks Management Company Limited (NPPMCL) for which the scheme of commercial borrowing had been approved by CCoP to replace the government’s excess equity. Following the approval of CCoP, the company’s management was furnished with a draft EOI and RFP for approval.

He was informed that the NPPMCL Board, in its meeting held on January 17, accorded approval for further proceedings. The process of refinancing would take about three months based on the response from the banks. He was told that the Ministry of Privatization had also started to initiate the process for the sale of the equity portion of NPPMCL, which would run parallel to the debt- refinancing.

The meeting also discussed the issues pertaining to Jinnah Convention Center, which needed to be resolved by the stakeholders. The Minister urged the Privatization Commission team to expedite all actions hindering the transaction of the Jinnah Convention Center.

Later, the Federal Minister chaired an important meeting was held to review the process of audit of the First Women Bank Limited (FWBL), which had been pending since 2018. CEO FWBL, Chairman Board of Directors FWBL and financial advisors attended the meeting. It was underlined that the audit of FWBL for the year 2018 was already started by KPMG and would complete in March 2022.

The privatization team briefed the participants that the necessary approval for the appointment of audit firms and early completion of the same had already been approved by the federal cabinet after a consistent follow-up of the Ministry.

The Federal Minister asked the CEO and Chairman BoD FWBL for the appointment of the auditing firms for FY-2019 to 2021 at the earliest. He urged them to work as a team to finish the audit in a minimum possible time to meet the privatization deadline



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