ECP stops caretaker govt from selling PIA and other entities

ECP PIA privatisation

ISLAMABAD: In a major development, the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) has stopped the caretaker government from privatising state-owned enterprises such as the Pakistan International Airlines (PIA).

The ECP has said that the interim government has no mandate to go for privatisation of national institutions.

Sources told Hum Investigation Team (HIT) that the ECP had written to the caretaker government, asking it not to proceed with the privatisation of PIA, Pakistan Steel Mills (PSM) and other entities.

A senior official said that the ECP had conveyed that it was not the caretaker government’s mandate to indulge in big transactions.

The caretaker government had put some loss-making enterprises on its privatisation list after taking charge. The Privatisation Commission was actively pursuing the sale of these entities.

The Privatisation Commission had also hired an international financial adviser, Ernst & Young, for the privatisation of PIA. The government would pay the firm $7 million, or about Rs2 billion, for its services.

This was the highest amount paid for any privatisation process in recent years.

Pakistan set to shell out $7 million to foreign firm for PIA’s privatization

Fawad had earlier told HIT that Ernst & Young had the lowest bid among the four international firms that submitted their proposals. He had claimed that the privatisation process would be transparent and video-recorded.

He had said that the objective of hiring the foreign firm was to ensure that PIA, one of the major assets of the country, could be sold at the right price.

He had also said that all stages of privatisation, from the firm’s services to the tendering process, were video-recorded to prevent any allegations of mismanagement, nepotism or corruption.

HIT contacted Caretaker Federal Minister for Privatisation Fawad Hasan Fawad and Secretary Privatisation Osman Bajwa for their comments, but they did not respond till the filing of this story.

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