Minister & Secretary Privatisation Brief The Senate Standing Committee on Privatisation

Meeting of the Senate Standing Committee on Privatisation was held today under the chairmanship of Senator Shamim Afridi. Federal Minister for Privatisation Mr.Abid Hussain Bhayo, Federal Secretary Dr.Iram A. Khan as well as senior officials and consultants of the Ministry attended the meeting. 

The committee discussed the privatisation of PESCO and IESCO. Secretary Privatisation briefed the committee that the Cabinet Committee on Privatisation (CCoP) in May 2021 had approved the concession contracts for eight of the ten DISCOs, whereas management contract was approved for QESCO & TESCO. Furthermore, in view of the past lessons learnt and latest global practices, for the privatisation of DISCOs, “Pakistan Model” was also proposed by a working group comprising officials from Ministry of Privatisation, NEPRA, Power Division, CPPA-G and World Bank. However, there have been subsequent changes in policy and regulatory framework which has direct impact on DISCOs and the scope of concession and management contracts to be developed as part of this arrangement. The members of the standing committee discussed the extent of technical and commercial losses in various DISCOs and efforts being put in by the Power Division to improve. The chair highlighted his own billing issue experienced.  During the meeting, the role and responsibility of the Provincial governments and law enforcing agencies as envisaged in National Electrical Policy (2021) was also discussed. The committee was also informed that CCoP in its meeting held in June this year has directed Power Division to write to all the provinces through the Ministry of IPC for negotiation in buying the relevant DISCOs, and letters to that effect have been dispatched to the Provinces. Federal Minister Privatisation, Mr. Abid Hussain Bhayo said that Sindh province is already in the process of negotiation with Power Division for the acquisition of SEPCO and HESCO. He expressed his confidence on the ability of the provinces to be successful in power distribution business also, as Sindh province is already in power generation and transmission.

The standing committee directed that regardless of participation or privatisation, as per the new electrical policy, the role of provincial, district and law-enforcing agencies should be institutionalized in curbing the line losses and poor collections.

The committee later deliberated upon the 488-acre land which is a property of Sindh Engineering Limited (SEL) but due to the complex litigation it has become disputed and hence became one of the major hurdles in the privatisation of SEL. The Committee in its last meeting had directed the Commissioner Kasur to provide a detailed brief highlighting the moot points. In today’s meeting the detail presentation was given to the committee which was apprised that the subject matter is sub-judice in the Lahore High Court (LHC). The Standing Committee, after a detailed discussion, unanimously decided that the Chairman Standing Committee will direct the Ministry of Industries & Production through a letter to approach Lahore High Court for early resolution/disposal of the matter for determining the rightful owner of the property. 

The matter relating to the privatisation of Jinnah Convention Center (JCC) was moved to the next meeting.

As per directions of the Committee in the last meeting, Secretary Privatisation briefed the forum about the hiring and remuneration package of the consultants currently working in the Commission. He said that the appointments, extensions and remunerations are governed by Section-11, sub-section (2) of the Privatisation Commission (PC) Ordinance -2000. The Committee after consultation decided to formulate a sub-committee of three members which shall be briefed on the appointment procedure and other matters relating to these contractual appointments of consultants and advisors.