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May 17, 2021

Govt considering key changes in Ministry of Privatisation

ISLAMABAD: The government is considering to bring key changes in the Ministry of Privatisation, as different options are under consideration to replace the incumbent Minister for Privatisation Mohammad Mian Soomro and appoint a new chairman of the Privatisation Commission.

Different names are under consideration for the slot of the chairman Privatisation Commission and renowned banker Sultan Ali Allana is among the top contenders for the slot.

“Yes, the government has decided in principle to bring key changes in the Privatisation Ministry in order to give an impetus to the privatization proceeds that remained unable to get the desired momentum in the last three years,” official sources confirmed to The News here on Sunday.

Discussions are underway for bringing key changes in the Ministry of Privatization and Sultan Ali Allana had visited Islamabad in recent weeks and met with top guns of the incumbent regime. Whether this development will be materialised or it would remain unfulfilled would be confirmed in the next few days.

When contacted, a top functionary of the government said that consultations were underway to this effect but he was not privy whether the incumbent minister for privatization would continue on his existing slot or he would be replaced.

But one thing is confirmed that the new chairman Privatization Commission would be appointed with the mandate to accelerate the process of privatization in the remaining tenure of the PTI-led regime.

Another top official said the privatisation process got slowed down because of the Covid-19 pandemic and fear of NAB as no local investor was ready to invest in properties and assets owned by the government.

With the change of Minister for Finance and appointment of Shaukat Tarin, it is hoped that he would focus on the state-owned enterprises (SOEs), whether these loss-making entities would be overhauled or privatised in order to get rid of huge burden of losses on national exchequer.

Sultan Ali Allana has been the Chairman of the Board of Directors of Habib Bank Limited (HBL) since February 2004. He has over 35 years of experience in the financial and banking sectors.