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Pakistan hints at delaying privatisation of LNG power plants amid Coronavirus outbreak

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ISLAMABAD: In a bid to maintain international traders engaged, Pakistan on Saturday hinted at extending the timeline for privatisation of two liquefied pure gasoline (LNG)-fired energy crops within the wake of coronavirus outbreak that has affected its multibillion-dollar programmes.

Federal Minister for Privatisation Mohammad Mian Soomro has indicated that the federal government will overview and rethink the timeline for privatisation of LNG-based energy crops, based mostly on info and situational evaluation and quickly altering nationwide and worldwide market eventualities, in keeping with a press release issued by the Ministry of Privatisation.

Within the wake of coronavirus pandemic, pre-qualified bidders requested for extension within the timeline, it added. Potential traders couldn’t examine the facility crops as a result of closure of companies and halt to worldwide flights. This has made the federal government’s April 15 deadline to carry a pre-bidding convention unrealistic.

The Privatisation Fee had invited Expressions of Curiosity (EOIs) in November final yr, providing native and world traders two energy crops of two,500 megawatts, fuelled by Qatar’s LNG.

Pakistan hopes to get proceeds of about $1.5-2 billion from the sale of those property, constructed through the tenure of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) authorities. The unique timeline for promoting the facility crops was December final yr, which was unrealistic as a consequence of a bunch of points linked with one of many largest privatisation transactions.

The federal government has included LNG crops’ privatisation proceeds within the FY20 funds with the intention to meet Worldwide Financial Fund (IMF)’s fiscal targets. The 2 energy crops run on LNG that Pakistan imports from Qatar below a 15-year deal, signed in 2015. Pre-qualified corporations had been given about two months for conducting due diligence of the crops.

The federal government will determine subsequent week whether or not it nonetheless desires to promote the crops earlier than June or the multibillion-dollar transaction will likely be pushed to the following fiscal yr,” mentioned a senior official of the ministry.

The monetary adviser, employed by the federal government to finish the transaction, is anticipated to offer its opinion whereas preserving in thoughts the monetary and general prevailing state of affairs. The nation is passing by means of a reasonable lockdown aimed toward containing the unfold of the contagious illness.

Pakistan had managed to safe broad-based curiosity within the privatisation of LNG-fired energy crops. A dozen world and home firms expressed curiosity. Buyers from Japan, Thailand, the UK and Malaysia got here ahead and submitted statements of qualification.

The Ministry of Privatisation acknowledged that regardless of the Covid-19 state of affairs, the Privatisation Fee continued to maintain international traders engaged within the privatisation plan of Pakistan’s authorities.

It added the privatisation of LNG-power crops was being carried out on a precedence foundation. Impending authorized and technical points have been sorted out amicably with provincial governments and line ministries.

These embody true-up tariff by the Nationwide Electrical Energy Regulatory Authority (Nepra), modification to land conversion guidelines and water use settlement for energy crops by the federal government of Punjab.

The problems additionally included alignment of gasoline provide and energy buy agreements by the Energy Division and Petroleum Division within the context of re-gasified LNG agreements, prevalent until 2025, it added.

The ministry mentioned related data had been uploaded on the Digital Knowledge Room (VDR) for due diligence by the pre-qualified bidders.

At current, due diligence is in progress, however bodily web site visits by the pre-qualified bidders couldn’t be scheduled as a result of present nationwide and worldwide lockdown and journey restrictions.

The federal minister reiterated that the revival of Pakistan Metal Mills (PSM) was some of the essential aims of the Ministry of Privatisation. He acknowledged monetary advisers, despite journey advisories and different points, had not too long ago been on a go to to Pakistan to finish their evaluation of property of the closed industrial unit.

The ministry mentioned all PSM issues concerning authorized, monetary and land had been mentioned with the stakeholders involved. First draft of human sources, monetary and tax due diligence was shared by the monetary advisers on April 1, 2020.

The draft due diligence was shared with the Ministry of Industries and Manufacturing and PSM administration on April 2 for overview and enter earlier than putting the report and proposed transaction construction for approval of the competent discussion board.

PSM has been staying closed since 2015 and the federal government, together with the earlier PML-N administration, has didn’t revive the entity. The federal authorities has additionally not paid dues of pensioners on account of post-retirement advantages. Final week, the Privatisation Fee postponed the sale of 27 government-owned unproductive properties as a result of prevailing state of affairs.

The ministry, nonetheless, mentioned privatisation programme for SME Financial institution was nonetheless lively. Pre-qualification of 5 traders, who’ve proven curiosity, is more likely to be accomplished by subsequent week and due diligence by potential consumers will likely be accomplished by the top of Might offered the present pandemic-related state of affairs improves to some extent.

Hassan Zia is an accomplished News writer & working journalist in the industry for over 5 years. At Pakistan print media he established his skills in writing and publishing multiple news stories of daily reporting beats ranging from crime, drama, business, entertainment. An activist at heart Zia believes in sensitizing audiences on issues of social justice and equality. Using powerful technique of storytelling on humanistic themes: women, children, labor, peace & diversity etc. his work underpins the causes he’s concerned about. Besides being known for his activism and community work Zia is also associated with renowned universities as a visiting faculty member for over 3 years now. His academic background is a Masters in Mass in Communication.