The provincial governments of Sindh and Punjab have shown willingness to buy the ex-WAPDA Distribution Companies (DISCOs) to reduce the financial burden on the federal government.
This was highlighted by the officials from the Ministry of Privatization while briefing the Senate Standing Committee on Privatization.
The meeting, presided by Senator Shamim Afridi, was apprised that the Power Division is currently in consultation with the respective governments in this regard. However, the discussions are going on without the removal of DISCOs from the list of companies to be privatized.
The officials briefed the members that six properties were privatized last year, while since 1991, 178 properties have been privatized, benefiting the national exchequer with a hefty amount of Rs. 649 billion. It was also apprised that the Privatization Commission’s 2022 annual report is currently under preparation.
Committee members highlighted that DISCOs should be removed from the privatization list if provinces are thinking of buying them. Chairman Committee Senator Shamim Afridi opined how provinces could manage the affairs of DISCOs themselves as the power companies heavily rely on the federal government for oil and other resources.
Member committee Peer Sabir Shah, while urging the authorities to involve the private sector alongside provinces, questioned that without the involvement of private sector, how could the process of privatization remain transparent.