Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif Declares Full Privatization of State-Owned Enterprises

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Islamabad: Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif Unveils Plan to Privatize State-Owned Enterprises

In a significant move, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif of Pakistan announced on Tuesday the government’s decision to privatize all state-owned enterprises (SOEs) except for those deemed strategically important. The announcement came during a review meeting held in Islamabad, focusing on matters pertaining to the Ministry of Privatization and the Privatization Commission.

Roadmap for Privatization Program 2024-2029

During the meeting, the Ministry of Privatization and the Privatization Commission presented a detailed roadmap for the Privatization Program spanning from 2024 to 2029. This comprehensive plan outlines the strategy and timeline for the privatization of various state-owned enterprises.

Government’s Role and Vision

Prime Minister Shehbaz emphasized that the government’s primary role is not to engage in business operations but to create a conducive environment for investment and entrepreneurship. He highlighted the importance of privatization in reducing the burden on taxpayers and enhancing the government’s capacity to deliver quality services to the public.

Live Telecast of Privatization Process

As part of the transparency initiative, the Prime Minister directed for the live telecast of the privatization process of Pakistan International Airlines Company Limited (PIA) and other key institutions. This move aims to ensure accountability and openness in the privatization proceedings.

Priority Privatization Targets

The meeting underscored the prioritization of privatizing loss-making state-owned enterprises to streamline operations and improve efficiency. A panel of experts will be appointed within the Privatization Commission to accelerate the privatization process and ensure effective implementation of the program.

Ministerial Directives and Collaboration

Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif instructed all federal ministries to actively support and collaborate with the Privatization Commission in executing the privatization agenda. This directive underscores the government’s commitment to facilitating the privatization process and achieving its objectives.

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Financial Review and Categorization of SOEs

Federal Minister for Finance Muhammad Aurangzeb mandated all concerned ministries and divisions to submit proposals for categorizing their respective State-Owned Enterprises (SOEs). This categorization is part of a comprehensive review aimed at optimizing the public sector’s commercial functions.

Ongoing Work and Challenges

The Central Monitoring Unit of the Finance Division presented its ongoing work on compiling the Federal SOE Annual Financial Report for the fiscal year 2023. The meeting highlighted governance and financial management gaps in SOEs, emphasizing the need for immediate corrective action.

CCOP Approval and Future Steps

Recently, the Cabinet Committee on Privatization (CCOP) approved 24 state-owned enterprises for the privatization program. The Ministry of Privatization has been tasked with finalizing the phasing of each entity in consultation with the respective ministries, marking a significant step toward advancing the privatization agenda.

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