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October 15, 2020

Govt earns Rs1.1 billion through properties auctions

Business

October 15, 2020

ISLAMABAD: The government has auctioned 23 state-owned properties, including residential, commercial and agriculture lands across the country for Rs1.13 billion, officials said on Wednesday.

The auctions of the state-owned properties were held last month for 23 properties, which included residential, commercial and agricultural lands owned by various ministries/division and organisations, the officials told a meeting of inter-ministerial committee on assets management on privatisation.

The auctioneering earned the government over one billion rupees. Initially, 26 properties were put on the list of auctions.

However, ministers told the meeting that the fate of remaining three properties would be decided by cabinet committee on privatisation for delisting from active privatisation list owing to the various issues and complexities involved, hindering the execution of the task.

Minister for Privatisation Mohammedmian Soomro said this has been a good start.

“We are focused on major privatisation goals with maximum output in efficiency with induction of experts and capital,” Soomro said.

The privatisation of properties was the first major progress of the goal related to divestment of government stakes in public sector enterprises.

For years, the privatisation has been facing obstacles with political opposition and other hurdles halting the process, which is much needed to create fiscal space for the cash-strapped economy.

The government planned to divest stakes in loss-making public sector enterprises, including regasified liquefied natural gas plants, Pakistan International Airlines and Pakistan Railways.

But the process was further slowed down due to lockdown imposed for five months since March.

The meeting was held to review the auction of government properties across the country.

The process started on September 7 and ended on 28 of the same month.

Ministry of privatisation was entrusted with the task of auctioning these properties.

The committee was constituted and Zaidi heads the committee, which also includes other ministers and advisers.

Zaidi said the work ended on positive note and the next stage would be to seek the approval from the cabinet committee on privatisation.

The committee also consented to the proposal of bidders’ price final approval from the cabinet committee on privatisation before handing over the properties to the successful candidates.

The additional secretary from the

ministry of industries and production also consented to delist the Republic Motors Private Limited property from active privatisation list.

However, the minister for industries will continue its efforts to make the property free from all encumbrances.