ISLAMABAD - In a landmark development regarding the privatization of the national carrier, the financial adviser has submitted a detailed sell-off plan.
The adviser was roped in by the government of Pakistan after it finalized that the carrier was a white elephant and it was feasible to privatize the entity instead of bailing out the airline every month.
After detailed discussions and consulting with relevant stakeholders, the adviser has now submitted a comprehensive plan, containing an investment roadmap for Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) as well as its immediate funding requirements.
A statement from the Privatisation Commission said a meeting chaired by Caretaker Privatisation Minister Fawad Hasan Fawad was held in which the financial adviser was also present
During the meeting, the business plan covering the investment roadmap for PIA as well as the airline's immediate funding requirements was discussed, Express Tribune reported.
Although complete details regarding the sell-off are awaited, reports say that the proposed plan covers the capital and fleet needs of the airline in the short- and medium term in order to make it globally competitive.
During the meeting, the minister directed the review of the estimates before submitting the plan to the federal cabinet for approval.
It bears mentioning that the caretaker government is swiftly making efforts to privatize the airline. Earlier, last month, the Privatisation Commission board approved new rules making it possible to sell state-owned enterprises through direct negotiations to foreign nations after setting their minimum price under a competitive process.
The privatisation ministry confirmed that the board had approved the draft of the Privatisation Commission (Government to Government Agreement Mode – Manner and Procedure) Rules, 2023.
The privatisation of the national flag carrier has been underway for months but with the new rules in place, the procedural requirements for selling any entity would be reduced.
The estimated annual losses of PIA are Rs153 billion, prompting the lawmakers to find a solution to finally get rid of the entity that was once an asset.
The calls for privatizing the airline were made during the previous regime and the follow-up deliberations led to the hiring of a financial adviser.
The privatization ministry had also promulgated the Privatisation Ordinance to remove the role of high courts in privatization transactions aimed at avoiding legal hitches.
The state-owned Pakistan International Airlines has been under fire for denting a severe blow to the national exchequer and facing hiccups due to multiple factors. Time and again, the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) freezes its accounts while Pakistan State Oil (PSO) also refuses to supply oil to the carrier.
The airline recently settled a dispute with an Indonesian firm and got possession of one of its aircraft though the airline failed to prove itself sustainable in the long term which has forced the policymakers to finally do away with it and hand it over to a private investor.
Pakistani rupee remains stable against US dollar and other currencies in the open market on February 23, 2024 (Friday)
In the open market, the US dollar was being quoted at 279.5 for buying and 282.45 for selling.
Euro comes down to 301 for buying and 304 for selling while British Pound rate stands at 351.5 for buying, and 355 for selling.
UAE Dirham AED hovers at 75.95 whereas the Saudi Riyal saw slight increase, with new rates at 74.25.
Source: Forex Association of Pakistan. (last update 09:00 AM)
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