ISLAMABAD - Senate Standing Committee on Privatisation on Wednesday was informed that privatisation of First Women Bank Limited (FWBL) was delayed due to the non-availability of audited accounts of the financial years 2018-2019 and 2020.

The Senate Standing Committee on Privatization met on Wednesday under the chairmanship of Senator Shammim Afridi here at Parliament House to discuss the privatization process of various public entities.

The committee was informed that the CCOP approved privatization of FWB as part of the Active Privatization Programme however due to the non-availability of audited accounts of financial year 2018-2019 and 2020 of FWBL, and publication of EOI to initiate the privatisation has been helped up. It was informed that the compilation of audited accounts of the bank was pending because the Governing Board of the Bank was non-active during the period. It was further informed that certain exemptions from federal government and SECP were required by FWBL. The action of the management of FWBL regarding obtaining the exemption from the SECP for convening the delayed AGM of 2018 and appointment of auditors for FY-2019, 2020, and 2021 in the same AGM is also pending. The committee sought a record of the pending AGM and the audit accounts by the last week of April for further deliberation to expedite the process of privatization.

The committee was briefed that Sindh Engineering Limited (SEL) is non-operational since 2008 and at a loss of PKR 27.4 million after taxation as per the audited accounts available in 2016-17. The committee was also apprised that properties referred to be owed by SEL do not have titles cleared in SEL’s name including the agricultural land located in Kasur district which is not in possession of SEL. For the property located at Mall Road Lahore, the ex-owner has filed suit for the declaration and transfer of property in their name. The SEL board and MD are to be appointed and the annual audited accounts are to be updated to ensure corporate structure existence to take necessary decisions on matters related to Privatization. The ministry urged that a PC Board has approved the appointment of the financial advisor for the SEL and negotiations with the Top Ranked IP are in the process however resolution of encumbrances attached with the SEL requires urgent attention from MOIP for going forward in the Privatization of SEL. The committee directed to probe investigation on the transferring of 448-acre land to the owner unilaterally by the then assistant commissioner. The committee also sought a report on the updated audit account and working of the company till to date. The committee showed its intent to summon the relative ministry in the next meeting for a briefing on the matter at hand.

The committee, while taking a briefing on the privatization of National Power Parks Management Co. Ltd, informed the committee that the Coalition for Outsourcing and Privatization CCoP has approved NPPMCL’s debt recapitalization and refinancing scheme by 110 billion rupees, accordingly, expression of interest (EOI) for debt recapitalization and refinancing of NPPMCL from banks/financial institutes have been published on January 27th 2022. A pre-bid meeting with banks and financial Institutes has also been met and the process of equity sale is also being reinitiated. The committee was of the view that the debt recapitalization and refinancing scheme for the outstanding receivables of NPPMCL will aid the privatization process. The Privatization Commission informed that the ministry was able to recoup 300.8 million rupees by the process.

The matter of divestment of 20pc GoP shares of Pakistan Reinsurance Company Limited (PRCL) through book building was also discussed. The ministry was informed that by virtue of being the sole reinsurer of Pakistan, all insurance companies must offer at least 35 pc of their reinsurance business to PRCL. The committee was informed by the Ministry that CCOP approved divestment of 20 pc shared of PRCL as part of the Active Privatization Program. It was informed that the transaction structure was approved by the COP and ratified by the Cabinet with 75pc shares to be allocated to institutions & the high-net-worth individual (HNWIs), and the remaining 25 pc will be offered to general public. The retail investors will also have the option to participate in the remaining 25pc portion, however, if any portion offered to retail investors remains unsubscribed, it will be taken up by the Institution & HNWIs who were declared as successful bidders in the Book Building. The matter is pending further deliberation by the PC in the CCoP on the issue of ownership by the Government after the divestment of 20pc shares.

The president SME bank presented details of employees and fresh appointments.

The committee was briefed that the bank is operating through a network of 13 commercial banking branches located in 9 cities and a head office.

The committee was briefed on the shareholding pattern of the SME bank with 93.89 pc shares owned by the government and 2.56 pc by the National Bank of Pakistan. The committee was also informed that 102 regular gratuity based employees and 80 contractual gratuity based employees are hired by the SME bank, 151 employees are inherited from Defunct SBFC and RDFC and are pension based. The Privatization Commission informed the committee that a meeting of the finance minister is scheduled to decide on either the Privatization or Liquidation of the SME Bank Ltd.

On the privatization of Services International Hotel Lahore which is jointly owned by National Insurance Company Limited (NIVL) (94pc) and Punjab Cooperative Board of Liquidation (PCBL) (06pc), the committee was informed that two parties namely M/s. MCB Bank Limited and Faisal Town Pvt. Ltd Islamabad participated in the bidding process and earnest money of Rs.100 million was deposited by both parties M/s Faisal Town Pvt Ltd emerged as the highest bidder at the conclusion of the auction process. The cabinet ratified CCoP’s decision on the highest bid and bidder. The buyer paid 30pc of the sale amount. The distribution of sale proceeds is being finalized by PC in consultation with PCBL, CCCL/NICL and LDA.