31 Enterprises Up For Sale
The government directed the Privatization Commission on Thursday to immediately start the process for sale of 31 Public Sector Entities (PSEs) through initial and secondary public offering and transfer of 26 per cent shares, along with management control, to the private sector. The decision was taken at a meeting of the Cabinet Committee on Privatization, presided over by Finance Minister Ishaq Dar, to comply with a structural benchmark agreed to under the IMF programmed. The companies cleared for divestment include the Oil and Gas Development Company Limited, Pakistan Petroleum Limited, Mari Gas, Pak-Arab Refinery, Pakistan State Oil, Sui Southern Gas Company Limited, Sui Northern Gas Pipelines Limited, Pakistan International Airlines, PIA-Roosevelt Hotel, New York, Pakistan Railways, Gujranwala Electric Power Company, Lahore Electric Supply Company, Islamabad Electric Supply Company, Faisalabad Electric Supply Company, Northern Electric Generation Company, Pakistan Steel Mills, National Power Construction Company and Pakistan National Shipping Corporation. The financial sector entities selected for sale in the first phase include National Bank of Pakistan, First Women Bank, Small and Medium Enterprises Bank, National Investment Trust Limited, National Insurance Company Limited, Pakistan Reinsurance Company Limited, State Life Insurance Corporation and House Building Finance Corporation. The Civil Aviation Authority, Karachi Port Trust, Port Qasim Authority and National Highway Authority are also on the list.
3G, 4G, LTE Up For Grabs
The government has finalized the policy guidelines for auction of the “next generation technology spectrum”, signifying its departure from 3G range while offering a technology neutral band to investors. Headed by Finance Minister Ishaq Dar, an Advisory Committee on Auction of telecom spectrum discussed at length the recommendations submitted by the Ministry of Information Technology regarding policy directives to introduce next generation Mobile Services In Pakistan. It was the first meeting of the advisory committee for the auction of next generation telecom spectrums, marking the beginning of a process that had remained controversial in the past. The previous Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) government too had approved a policy directive, and even issued an information memorandum and auction calendar, but the process became controversial. The Pakistan Muslim League – Nawaz (PML-N) government had included Rs120 billion as non-tax revenue income on the account of auction of 3G licenses in the Federal Budget 2013-14 and wants to complete the process before the close of the current financial year on June 30, 2014. In a significant policy shift, the new government decided to keep the spectrum technology neutral and has named it “next generation technology spectrum”, which offers a range of opportunities to the investors who could provide 3G, 4G or Linear Technology.
NEPRA Cuts Power Tariff For KESC
The National Electric Power Regulatory Authority (NEPRA) on Thursday reduced the electricity rates of Karachi Electric Supply Company (KESC) by 97 paisa and Rs1.63 per unit for October and November, respectively. According to a notification issued by the power regulator, the reduction in tariff was necessitated by lower oil prices in the international market in the month of April, May and June this year and improvement in Karachi Electric Supply Company’s energy mix. It said the decision for tariff reduction under monthly fuel price adjustment was taken after a public hearing in Karachi on Aug 15. Under the notification, the NEPRA approved a reduction of 27 paisa and 72 paisa per unit reduction for the month April and May. As a result, the consumer tariff would be lower by 97 paisa per unit against reference fuel price during the billing month of October 2013.
Users Of 200 Units To Get Rs 167 Billion Subsidy
Finance Minister Ishaq Dar has informed the Prime Minister that Rs 167 billion subsidy would be provided to protect the domestic users using up to 200 units of electricity in the current fiscal year. The Finance Minister called on Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Thursday and briefed him about the cost of subsidy on the budget and recent increase in electricity tariff by the government that evoked criticism and landed the matter in the Supreme Court. He informed the Prime Minister that almost 70 percent electricity is produced from furnace oil, which is very expensive and only 30 percent is produced from hydel. The Prime Minister stressed that low income groups must be protected at all costs. The government has earmarked a subsidy of Rs 165 billion for Pakistan Electric Power Company (PEPCO) on account of Inter-Disco Tariff Differential and Rs 55 billion for Karachi Electric Supply Company (KESC) for the current fiscal year.
First Gas Delivery Pipeline At Latif Field Inaugurated
In a major development on energy front, Pakistan made headway in integrated gas supply chain, as Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif inaugurated the first 47 kms gas delivery pipeline connecting four wells of Latif Field Development with Sawan Processing Plant. This iconic project led by OMV will result in 100 mmcfd targeted supply of gas to SSGCL and SNGPL. The inaugural ceremony of the project was simultaneously held at Sawan Central Processing Plant, Sindh and the Prime Minister House in Islamabad. The US $150 million project is contributing a precious three percent into the national gas grid to help meet the country's growing domestic and industrial requirement. the project has been completed in record time of 15 months only due to tireless efforts of the entire project team. He appreciated OMV for immense contribution to Pakistan's Economy since commencement of its operations in 1990, with its major hydrocarbon discoveries like Sawan, Miano and Latif Gas Fields, which are currently producing over 360 million cubic feet of gas per day. The Prime Minister said supply of indigenous gas was a major component of total energy mix and mainstay of economy.
Forex Reserves Fall By $287.3 Million
The country's liquid foreign exchange reserves posted a decline of $287.3 million during last week because of debt payment. The State Bank of Pakistan Thursday reported that the country's total forex reserves fell to $9.923 billion as on September 27, 2013. Previously it stood at $10.21 billion a week earlier. Reserves held by SBP posted a declining trend, while banks' reserves witnessed some surge during the period under review. Reserves held by SBP dropped by $326.3 million to $4.602 billion down from $4.928 billion. Similarly, reserves held by banks mounted by $39 million to $5.321billion as September 27, 2013 as compared to $5.282 billion as on September 20, 2013.