ISLAMABAD - The National Assembly yesterday approved ‘The Inter-Governmental Commercial Transactions Bill 2022’ which is aimed at selling off state-owned enterprises to raise billions of rupees.

The bill was passed by the Federal Cabinet, a couple of weeks ago, will provide a mechanism to carry out a commercial transaction under an Inter-Governmental Framework Agreement to promote, attract and encourage foreign states to have economic and business relations with Pakistan.

‘The Inter-Governmental Commercial Transactions Bill 2022’, after crossing the stage of Senate and consent of the President, aimed at selling off state-owned enterprises to raise billions of rupees.

The bill, after becoming act of parliament, will give power to the federal government to enter into a government to government (G2G) agreement with the government of a foreign state for purposes of legislation.

According to the agreement, “Unless provided otherwise by the Cabinet Committee, a commercial agreement under the G2G agreement shall be negotiated and executed between the nominated entities of the federal government and government of the foreign state”.

It says, “The federal government shall, by notification in the official gazette, constitute a Cabinet Committee on Inter-Governmental Commercial Transaction”.

“The Cabinet Committee may authorise negotiations for a G2G agreement between the federal government and government of a foreign state; constitute a negotiation committee for a G2G agreement or a commercial agreement, as the case may be, and approve price discovery mechanism; recommend approval of the G2G agreement or a commercial agreement finalised by the negotiation committee; recommend for relaxations, exemptions, exclusions or concessions from regulatory compliance,” it says.

“The Committee will authorize fast track procurement of services of transaction advisors or consultants; and take such decisions necessary for expeditious execution of the commercial transaction,” it says.

“The Cabinet Committee may co-opt any person as a member or may require attendance of any person by special invitation as it deems appropriate. No act, decision or proceedings of the Cabinet Committee shall be invalid by reason of absence, vacancy or defect in the constitution of the Cabinet Committee. The Federal Government may also issue necessary directions to the provincial governments, local governments or any agency or authority concerned to implementation of objective of the Inter-Governmental agreement in land acquisition, rehabilitation, settlement, construction of roads to main highway and such other measures,” it says.

“The Federal Government by notification may exempt the agreement from any regulatory compliance. No court shall entertain an application, petition or suit against any process or act undertaken or done, intended or purported to be undertaken or done under this ordinance,” it says.

The bill says, “No court shall grant an injunction or entertain any application for injunction against any process undertaken, intended or purported to be undertaken for a commercial transaction or agreement under this ordinance,”.

The house also passed ‘The Pakistan Tobacco Board (Amendment) Bill, 2022 with majority of vote.

The lawmaker from GDA, on point of order, wanted to speak over the matter of celebrating Independence Day when the chair abruptly prorogued the session.