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Nation special report

ISLAMABAD: In wake of ongoing hunt for recovery of looted national money, Pakistan Government has no record $200 billion deposited or hide in foreign countries.  Minister of state for parliamentary affairs Ali Muhammad Khan has disclosed this while speaking at the National Assembly.

He said a task force that has been set up  in this regard; is trying to bring back all the money transferred to  foreign countries through money laundering. Replying to a question in the House, he said 5 per cent special job quota for minorities is being given in all government departments.

FEDERAL MINISTER FOR COMMUNICATIONS AND POSTAL SERVICES, MURAD SAEED AND SPECIAL ASSISTANT TO THE PRIME MINISTER ON ACCOUNTABILITY, SHAHZAD AKBAR ADDRESSING A PRESS CONFERENCE IN ISLAMABAD ON DECEMBER 05, 2019.

Replying to a question about Benazir Income Support Programme (BISP) he said a survey of deserving persons taking benefit under BISP was being held so that only needy  people could  take benefit from this support programme. He said special assistant to Prime Minister for information and broadcasting Dr Firdous Ashiq Awan is entitled to  available salaries, allowances and perks and privileges to minister of state.

Replying to another question he said that ministry of climate change didn’t allow anyone to use polythene bags with or without red or green stamps. Ministry teams during raids have seized such bags too.

It has also been said that no proposal is under  consideration of naming  Islamabad Airport as  Benazir Bhutto Airport.  Replying to another question regarding PTV, it has been said that during the tenure of present government PTV deficit is reduced.

During fiscal year of 2018-19 income over Rs11, 56, billion was earned while after incurring the  expenditures of over  Rs 11, 21 billion profit stands at over  Rs 350 million .

Privatisation

The Cabinet Committee on Privatization has issued directions for expediting the pace of work on privatization of SME Bank Limited and PIA Investment Limited. The meeting of the committee was held with Adviser to Prime Minister on Finance and Revenue Dr Abdul Hafeez Sheikh on chair here on Friday.

The committee also took up privatization of SME Bank Limited as decided by an earlier the meeting in October last year, and approved a transaction structure submitted by Privatization Commission for the privatization of the bank. Earlier, the committee was told that the transaction structure had been reviewed and recommended by a transaction committee constituted by the Privatization Commission and comprising PC Board Members, Finance Division, State Bank of Pakistan and SME Bank which met four times before coming up with a comprehensive transaction structure put to CCoP for consideration and approval. The Privatization Commission also shared with the CCoP the pre-qualification criteria reviewed and approved by the PC Board for the prospective bidders.

The CCoP also discussed privatization of PIA-Investment Limited and approved a proposal for the constitution of a task force to examine and process all necessary formalities for an early disposal of the PIA properties, including the Roosevelt Hotel in New York and Hotel Scribe in Paris. Under the decision, the task force would be headed by Privatization Commission Minister Muhammad Mian Soomro and include Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Overseas Pakistanis & HRD Syed Zulfiqar Abbas Bukhari, Secretary Privatization Commission and Additional Secretary Ministry of Finance as well as legal and financial consultants on the Roosevelt Hotel Corp and any other official deemed necessary to be co-opted by the Task Force.

The meeting also instructed the PIA Management to present to the committee in its next meeting the findings of the feasibility study conducted by it in pursuance of its decision earlier this year to carry out an appraisal of various management and financial options for gaining optimal returns from the Roosevelt Hotel. The CCoP also directed the PIA management to update the Committee on monthly basis regarding the progress of the work and also advised the airline management to carry out its plan in coordination with Aviation Division.

The committee took up a proposal from Earthquake Reconstruction and Rehabilitation Authority (EERA) for the delisting of 17 properties until June 2020 when the EERA would be subsumed into the National Disaster Management Commission (NDMC) as per a government decision already taken to transform National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) into a vibrant and self-sufficient entity. The EERA was of the view that deferring the privatization of its assets till June 2020 would allow sufficient time for a possible legislation for incorporating these properties into the National Disaster Management Fund (NDMF).

The Privatization Commission told the CCoP that the 17 properties belonging to EERA had been picked up for privatization in pursuance of a federal cabinet decision of 7th March 2019 and subsequent identification by an Inter-Ministerial Committee constituted by the Prime Minister of 32 properties belonging to nine ministries, divisions and organizations which themselves had proposed these properties for sale and also forwarded relevant authority letters to the Privatization Commission for further processing. The PC also submitted that it had already hired a financial adviser for the sale of the 32 properties and withdrawal of properties as being proposed by the EERA would adversely affect the whole privatization process besides sending negative signals to potential buyers and investors. The CCoP discussed the issue in detail and after input from members did not agree to the proposal from EERA for delisting of its properties and advised the Authority to complete all codal formalities still pending at its end to let the privatization process move ahead.

To another proposal by the Commerce Division for delisting from privatization of a 15-acre plot situated in an industrial area in Multan on the grounds that the same plot could be utilized more efficiently for some other purpose rather than being sold at a possibly low price, the CCoP decided that the privatization of the asset in question would go ahead as already decided by the government. However, a committee headed by Mr. Abdul Razaq Dawood. Adviser for Commerce, Textile, Industry & Production and Investment would closely scrutinize the reference price at the bidding stage to see if it matched the value of the plot and in view of it not being in tune with the worth of the property, the Commerce Ministry would come up with an elaborate alternative plan detailing various aspects of the opportunity cost to use the plot, lying idle since 2011, quickly and efficiently.