In order to tackle the country’s crippling economy and contain inflation, Pakistan Finance Minister, Miftah Ismail on Wednesday announced that the government is looking forward to amend the laws for the sale of shares of listed state-owned entities with a buyback option to friendly countries.
The change in SOEs-related laws would be made “appropriately to sell SOEs shares to a friendly country through a stock exchange” and two LNG-based power projects owned by the federal government — Balloki and Haveli Bahadur Shah — to another friendly country to help bridge a part of $4 billion financing gap estimated by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for the current fiscal year, the Dawn newspaper reported.
Speaking at a seminar on SOEs corporate governance, the minister underlined that ban on imports would be uplifted in the upcoming weeks and all the steps under the staff-level agreement with the IMF had been completed, Dawn reported.
“The law was necessary because the existing privatisation law did not allow such commercial transactions on a G2G basis,” said the minister.
The minister also talked at length about how the SOEs had professional people running them as he had personal experience working with boards of PIA, Sui Southern Gas Company and so were others like OGDCL and power distribution companies.
An official statement after the cabinet meeting said the cabinet approved ‘Inter-Government Commercial Transaction Act 2022’ presented by the ministry of law and justice and referred it to the relevant standing committee of the parliament.
The minister also spoke at length about how the SOEs had professional people running them as he had personal experience working with boards of PIA, Sui Southern Gas Company and so were others like OGDCL and power distribution companies.
Notably, NAB had been in place for 20 years but the level of corruption or perception of it did not go down. Similarly, there had been Public Procurement Regulatory Authority (PPRA) and its laws for more than 20 years but he did not know if procurement costs had been lower and things get better than they were before PPRA.
Highlighting that the change in SOEs-related laws to sell SOEs on a buyback basis would cater to the country’s slumping economy through a stock exchange, Ismail said that they are not selling majority shares or ownership shares and we are selling a small number of shares on buyback option.
The government could buy back those shares at a later stage if it so desires with the improved economic condition, he added.