Meeting of Senate Standing Committee held on Privatization

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Islamabad, (Parliament Times) : A meeting of the Senate Standing Committee on Privatization was held on Thursday. Senator Shamim Afridi chaired the meeting; that was attended by Senator Mian Raza Rabbani, Senator Mohsin Aziz, Senator Molvi Faiz Muhammad, Senator Umer Farooq, Senator Aon Abbas and senior officers of the Ministry of Privatization along with its attached departments and agencies. Minister for Privatization, Mr Muhammad Mian Soomro was present at the meeting as well.

Issues taken up entailed the status of privatization of National Power Park Management Co. Ltd (NPPMCL), Jinnah Convention Centre (JCC), Islamabad and the Services International Hotel, Lahore.

The meeting commenced with a review of the status of recommendations made in the previous meeting. Taking up issues related to the privatization of NPPMCL, the Committee was informed that the entity was entrusted with the task of producing 2400 MW into the national system through its own resources. The company established two state of the art RLNG based combined cycle power plants; 1223 MW CCPP at Balloki, District Kasur and 1230 MW at Haveli Bhahdur Shah Jhang. These plants are providing electricity to the national grid owing to their unparalleled latest technology and high efficiency. Haveli Bahadur Shah began commercial operations on 09th May, 2018 and Balloki achieved commercial operations on 29th July, 2018. The Cabinet Committee on Privatization (CCoP) in its meeting held on 31st October, 2018 directed to to initiate the process for privatization of NPPMCL after obtaining the approval of the Council of Common Interests (CCI) in a meeting held on 19th November, 2018. Due Diligence process was completed in September 2019 and the CCoP in its meeting held on 18th September, 2019 ratified the said CCoP decision. Prequalification of 12 prospective investors was conducted. Numerous problems were identified during the diligence process; which was further overtaken by the COVID situation. IPPs negotiations were another impediment that slowed the process. The Committee while reviewing the case enquired about the plant’s efficacy and capacity charges. The Committee was informed that total return paid to investors would be 12 percent. However, if needed, the Plants can be run at 100 percent capacity. The Committee recommended that the Plant’s capacity must be revaluated and the process expedited.

Discussing the privatization of Jinnah Convention Centre, Islamabad (JCC) the Committee was informed that its sale had been approved by CCoP as part of the Active Privatization Program. However, CDA was taken on board as member of the transaction committee and provided its input on the proposed transaction which was ratified by the Cabinet. One of the clauses introduced by the CDA was that JCC must be converted from Amenity to Commercial property. This proposition was taken serious notice by the Committee and it stressed that all such conversions must be minutely reviewed. The Ministry assured the Committee of its support. It was recommended that Senator Mohsin Aziz, Chairman Senate Standing Committee on Interior take up the matter with the CDA. This was due to the fact that the Privatization Commission has on numerous occasions taken up the issue with the Ministry of Interior and asked for their intervention by advising CDA to review the entire process and assisting the Privatization Commission to complete the transaction so that investor confidence is maintained.

Deliberating over the privatization process of the Services International Hotel Lahore the Committee was informed of the challenges and impediments stalling the process. It was stated that in addition to other issues that have contributed to slowing the process transfer and postings within the department is another concern that demands attention since the whole process, in such situations has to be started from scratch.