Govt plans to privatise two dozen state-owned enterprises, NA told

ISLAMABAD   -  The National Assembly in Monday’s sitting informed that the present government has planned to privatise around two dozen state-owned enterprises (SOEs) in the coming year.

These Public Sector Entities including PIA, Roosevelt Hotel, First Women Bank, Utility Stores Corporation and various power distribution companies will be privatized, said Minister of State for Finance Ali Pervaiz Malik, during the Question-Hour.

Sharing the reasons behind privatization of PSEs, the Minister said all field enforcement units have been sensitized to check smuggling of iron and steel items. Over 785, 028 kilograms of steel products have been seized during the current fiscal year.

It may be mentioned here that Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif has also recently shared that the government would privatise all state-owned enterprises, excluding the strategic ones, regardless of their profitability or financial losses. Sharif had also directed all the federal ministries to carry out the necessary procedures and extend their cooperation with the Privatisation Commission for the purpose.

Earlier, the house also witnessed uproar as SIC members staged walkout over the matter of preventing the opposition leaders Omar Ayub Khan and other leaders from appearing before the Anti-Terrorist Court in Sargodha.

Senior MNA Asad Qaiser, with start of the proceedings, on a point of order that Punjab Police stopped the opposition leader and other leaders from reaching the Anti-Terrorist Court in Sargodha. “We will submit a privilege motion against illegal action of Punjab Police,” he said while staging walkout with other opposition members.

On a same matter, Opposition leader Omar Ayub informed that the Punjab Police stopped their way to the court in Sargodha.  “We were not allowed to appear before the court,” he said adding that they hardly managed to reach in front of court’s main gate. He further said that former premier was kept in a small cell and not being provided facilities, which was claimed by the present government.

Over the matter of power outages, Minister for Power Awais Khan informed that the transmission system of electricity has become sick due to political and administrative inefficiencies. He said that all the people from top official to a line man have contributed to this state of affairs.

The Minister said that his own constituency is now getting 24 hours electricity supply because electricity thefts have been controlled and line loses have come down to zero.

Earlier, the lawmakers warned the power outages could create riots in Karachi and the metropolitan could get out of hands of the Government. They also called upon the chair to fix specific time for discussion on electricity load-shedding.

Responding to a calling attention moved by Shehla Raza and others, Minister for Water Resources Musadik Masood Malik said there is no shortage of water in the country and every province is getting its complete share of water as per decision of the Indus River System Authority. He further told the House that IRSA is fully empowered to take decisions regarding water distribution and every province has its representation in the authority.

The House also passed “the Pakistan Broadcasting Corporation (Amendment) Bill, 2024.”

Moving the bill, Law Minister Azam Nazeer Tarar said the bill is aimed at giving more autonomy to the board of Radio Pakistan to improve its governance and performance.

Under the bill, the Federal Government shall appoint Director General of Radio Pakistan on the recommendations of the board. The constitution of the PBC board has been changed by increasing the independent directors/private members from four to nine, giving them a majority over ex-officio members. The National Assembly also passed “The Pakistan National Shipping Corporation (Amendment) Bill, 2024”, “The Pakistan Postal Services Management Board (Amendment) Bill, 2024” and “The National Highway Authority (Amendment) Bill, 2024.”

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