ISLAMABAD - Senate Standing Committee on Privatisation here on Thursday has recommended the federal government to halt the process of privatisation of Jinnah Convention Centre.

The committee meeting, which was chaired by Senator Shamim Afridi, discussed the privatisation process of the Jinnah Convention Centre (JCC). The committee was informed that federal cabinet had approved the privatisation of the JCC in 2020. Later, 12 potential investors had pre-qualified in response to the expression of interest. However, the board of Capital Development Authority (CDA) had expressed concern over the privatisation of the JCC. According to the CDA, the government would have to change the rules for JCC’s privatisation. Senator Anwar-ul-Haq was of the view that property mafia is behind the privatisation of the Jinnah Convention Centre. He said that the parliamentary committee should oppose its privatization. Officials of the CDA informed the committee that they earn sufficient amount by organising different functions in the JCC. The CDA takes rent from both public and private departments for arranging functions and seminars in it. Therefore, the CDA is opposing its privatization. However, the federal cabinet would take decision in this regard. They further informed that the matter is currently placed before the Cabinet Committee for approval to re-initiate the privatisation process of JCC and guidance for the way forward. Later, the committee decided to move its recommendations for halting the privatisation of the JCC to the Prime Minister and federal cabinet.

Senate Standing Committee on Privatization has also discussed the privatization status of Pak-China Fertilizer Company. The committee was informed that matter is sub-judice. It was further informed that 90 percent shares of the Pak-China Fertilizer Company were transferred to Schon Group in 1992 and the government is still having its 10 percent shares. Privatization Commission is pursuing the case and making all efforts to secure the interest of the government and in this case. Supreme Court of Pakistan had dismissed the case of Schon Group against the sale of 112 Kanal land and the process of disbursement of the amount received against the sale of 112 Kanal land to the employees.

Senator Anwaar ul Haq Kakar expressed concerns over the incomplete transaction of the fertilizer company and called for early completion of the process to protect the national interest. He assured that the committee would extend its support to Privatization Commission. The committee directed to pursue the case and update the committee. The committee has directed the Privatization Commission to expedite efforts for completing the transactions of privatized state-owned enterprises.

The committee has also discussed the status of government entities already privatized but the transactions have not been completed. It was told that the Privatization Commission had so far completed 178 privatization transactions and generated privatizations proceeds of Rs 7,649,114 million. The privatization of SOEs included of the banking sector, capital markets, telecom and other entities.