Islamabad, February 21, 2017
Privatisation Commission would like to clarify the assertions made in the news item “Privatisation Commission failing to plug losses”, published in the Express Tribune on February 20, 2017.
The said news item is essentially an opinion piece, based on incorrect, unauthenticated and wrong facts. The news item admits that PC has generated approximately Rs. 172 billion, including USD 1.1 billion in foreign exchange, for the national exchequer during the present government’s tenure. However, the writer has failed to understand that while a capital market transaction can be completed within 4-6 months, a strategic sale can take at least 2 years for completion. Moreover, PC is not just mandated to sell-off SOEs, but it can also help restructure and improve the SOEs where required.
The SOEs mentioned in the news item, i.e. Pakistan Steel Mills, Pakistan International Airlines, and 14 Power Companies (DISCOs & GENCOs), are very large and complex SOEs, which have been on the list of privatisation for a number of years now. It needs to be appreciated and recognized that privatisation is a lengthy process that requires meticulous examination of the legal, financial, technical and Human Resource realities of the concerned SOE.
It is for the first time under this government that the present PC Management had initiated serious due diligence of these SOEs, which was conducted by world class Financial Advisors. The results of these studies have been shared with the concerned line ministries and management of the SOEs, in order to help them restructure and improve their operational performance and financial health. It needs to be understood that as these SOEs become financially viable, their marketability would improve, which in turn would help generate greater revenues, should the government decide to privatise them at any stage.
PC is fully cognizant of the fact that reducing financial burden on the national exchequer, improvement in quality of service delivery to the people of Pakistan, and welfare of the employees of SOEs are of utmost importance, and, therefore, all transactions carried out by PC are conducted in this perspective.