ISLAMABAD       -   The Cabinet Committee on Privatisation (CCoP) has delisted Pakistan National Shipping Corporation, Port Qasim Authority and Karachi Port Trust from the privatisation programme due to the strategic importance and profitability of these entities. On the request of the Ministry of Maritime Affairs, the CCoP has approved the delisting of Pakistan National Shipping Corporation, Port Qasim Authority and Karachi Port Trust from the privatization programme. The CCoP has directed the Ministry of Privatisation to expedite the process of privatisation of public sector enterprises approved for privatisation. It further advised the Ministry of Privatisation to hire financial advisors for at least 10 PSEs before the next CCoP meeting.

The CCoP, in its meeting held with Advisor to the Prime Minister on Finance and Revenue Dr Abdul Hafeez Shaikh in the chair, also empowered the Ministry of Privatisation to select any 10 units and start forthwith the hiring of financial advisors, collectively or separately as per requirement, for the selected units. Dr Abdul Hafeez Shaikh said the government was committed to pursuing the privatisation programme and assured the Ministry of Privatisation full institutional backing and requisite resources to fast-track the privatisation process. The Cabinet, in its meeting held on 3rd June 2019, had already approved initiation of the process of hiring of financial advisors of the selected 32 properties.

The Ministry of Privatisation gave a detailed presentation on the “Status of Overall Privatization” by telling the Committee that the privatisation process started in January 1991 and a total of 172 transactions had been completed having fetched a total of Rs 649.3 billion for the national exchequer. The committee was also briefed on the progress and pace of privatisation of eight units being on the active list, including National Power Parks Management Co. Ltd (1223 MW Balloki Power Plant and 1230 MW haveli Bahadur Power Plant; Mari Petroleum Limited; SME Bank Limited; First Women Bank Limited; Services International Hotel Lahore; Jinnah Convention Centre Islamabad; Lakhra Coal Mines (now Lakhra Coal Development Company) and Pakistan Steel Mills (revival of entity). ECC directs to monitor wheat prices

The Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) of the Cabinet on Thursday directed the Ministry of National Food Security and Research to regularly monitor the wheat prices and availability of wheat stocks in the country. Dr. Abdul Hafeez Shaikh also chaired a meeting of the Economic Committee of the Cabinet (ECC). The Ministry of National Food Security and Research also briefed the ECC on the wheat situation in the country by saying that PASSCO and provincial food departments had reported wheat stocks at the level of 7.519 million tones as on 2nd August 2019 as compared to 11.183 million tones of the corresponding period last year. Similarly, the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics on 25th July 2019 had reported the local price of wheat and wheat flour at the level of Rs 362.6 and Rs 422.2/-10 kg respectively, showing a decrease of 0.03 per cent for wheat and 0.69% for wheat flour, as compared to the price level of 2nd week of July 2019.

The Committee instructed the Ministry of National Food Security and Research to regularly monitor the wheat prices, availability of wheat stocks in the country and ensure release of wheat stocks to the local market throughout the year and to check tendency of increase in wheat price particularly in the winter season. On another summary submitted by the Ministry of National Food Security and Research requesting for supplementary grant of Rs 530 million for locust control, the ECC directed the Ministry of Finance to look into the matter in consultation with the Ministry of National Food Security and Research.

The Committee, on a summary presented by the Ministry of National Food Security and Research seeking minimum support price for cotton to protect the local farmers and encourage cotton cultivation in the country, decided to constitute a Price Review Committee under the chair of Adviser Ministry of Commerce & Textile to review and suggest the indicative price and other measures to be taken in case of abnormal fluctuations in the prices of cotton.

The Ministry of Energy also submitted a summary to the ECC for extension of gas network and rehabilitation of existing network in oil & gas producing districts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa at a cost of Rs 9.039 billion out of which SNGP was to bear the cost equal to Rs 4.668 million while the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government was to chip in with Rs 4.371 million of which Rs 694.5 million had already been released as the first tranche by the provincial government. The ECC discussed the proposal and in the light of input from the members and directed the Ministry of Energy to resubmit the proposal after taking input from the Planning and Finance Divisions.