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TMCNet:  New members: Premier reconstitutes PC board before key meeting

[December 31, 2013]

New members: Premier reconstitutes PC board before key meeting

(Express Tribune (Pakistan) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has reconstituted the board of the Privatisation Commission ahead of its first meeting, which is slated for next month aimed at seeking approval of the members for privatising the first batch of 32 shortlisted state-owned enterprises.

The premier has appointed six members on the board, meeting the minimum requirement under the Privatisation Ordinance of 2000. It is the second major change in two weeks as the prime minister has already appointed Muhammad Zubair as new chairman of the PC.

Arsala Khan Hoti, Zafar Iqbal, Nasiruddin Ahmad, Chaudhry Arif Saeed, Muneer Kamal and Farooq Khan are new members of the board. A notification announcing their appointment has been issued.

Arsala Khan was a member of the PML-N manifesto committee while Muneer Kamal, who is brother of PC Chairman Zubair, is the chairman of the board of directors of National Bank of Pakistan.

The PC board is headed by the chairman and the privatisation secretary is the ex-officio member of the board. Affairs of the commission are run by the board.

At least for the time being, the federal government has preferred a smaller board compared to the previous large one, which comprised 15 regular members in addition to two government members.

The PC has requested the PM to appoint some more members on the board and their names have been forwarded to the PM’s Office for consideration, according to officials.

First meeting of the PC board will be held in the first week of January aimed at taking the privatisation process forward. As part of the agreed agenda, the International Monetary Fund has made it binding for Pakistan to hire a financial adviser by March next year for selling 26% shares in Pakistan International Airlines.

PIA is among 32 state enterprises that have been approved by the Cabinet Committee on Privatisation (CCOP) for either sell-off or offloading shares in the already privatised entities in the stock market. After CCOP’s approval, clearance of the PC board is necessary before appointment of financial advisers.

According to his conservative assessment, Finance Minister Ishaq Dar has expressed the hope that the government will earn over Rs200 billion from the stock market by floating shares of public sector enterprises.

The PC is in the process of finalising the agenda for its board meeting and it is expected that at least six major companies will be on the agenda, according to PC officials. The six enterprises will be from the sectors of banking, power and services.

The government is planning to include Islamabad Electricity Supply Company, Faisalabad Electricity Supply Company, Oil and Gas Development Company, Pakistan Petroleum Limited and a couple of banks in the first batch of privatisation.

The companies whose shares would be offered on the stock market would be ready for the transactions in the next few weeks, the officials added.

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