ISLAMABAD - Ishaq Dar, federal minister for finance, informed the Senate on Wednesday that the government is mulling to privatise a number of public sectors enterprises.

“The government has decided to privatise 69 public sector enterprises on priority basis. The Cabinet Committee on Privatisation (CCoP) had directed the Privatisation Commission to initiate the privatisation process of 69 PSEs on 3rd October, 2013,” Dar told the upper house of parliament. He added the government has so for identified 32 enterprises for privatisation.

He said the enterprises identified for early privatisation include Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) for divestment of 26 per cent equity to strategic private sector partner in core operations of PIA, Oil & Gas Development Company (OGDCL), Pakistan Petroleum Limited (PPL), United Bank Limited (UBL), Allied Bank Limited (ABL), Habib Bank Limited (HBL), Heavy Electrical Complex (HEC), National Power Construction Corp (NPCC), Faisalabad Electric Supply Company (FESCO), and National Power Generation Company Ltd (NPGCL - GENCO III).

He added that Privatisation Commission Board has approved initiation of hiring process of financial advisors/ valuators for abovementioned public sectors enterprises while the advertisements will be placed in the newspapers as soon as the All Pakistan Newspaper Society (APNS) boycott ends. Dar was responding to a question asked by Senator Sughra Imam.

When asked to inform the house about the findings of an investigation report of NAB regarding privatisation of Muslim Commercial Bank, Dar said the question has already been answered by minister of law, justice and human rights in the house on April 15, 2014. “The NAB did not find anything concrete in the inquiry. Further information regarding the case can be sought from the State Bank of Pakistan.” Dar added.

He tried to make it clear by stating that according to State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) its mandate under SBP Act, 1956 is limited to regulations of banking companies. The said inquiry did not fall under regulatory/supervisory ambit of SBP.

The NAB is fully empowered under the NAB Ordinance to take appropriate legal action.

Answering another query, Dar informed the upper house that Pakistan had signed a three years Extended Fund Facility (EFF) with IMF for SDR 4.393 billion ($6.64 billion) on 4 September 2013. The amount of the facility would be disbursed during the next three years in quarterly instalments after successful completion of reviews.