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Tuesday, September 27, 2022
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‘Govt to offer 51% stakes in PIA and Roosevelt Hotel to Qatar’

The government has decided to put 51 percent stakes of the Pakistan International Airlines and Roosevelt Hotel in New York on offer to Qatar, after discarding a plan to sell two liquefied natural gas (LNG) power plants.

According to media reports, a high level meeting was chaired by Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif that was attended by Shahid Khaqan Abbasi and Finance Minister Miftah Ismail.

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A committee has been formed by the PM to finalize the proposals by the end of this week and also prepare the paperwork before the departure of Shehbaz Sharif to Qatar that is tentatively planned for August 22-23.

The debt owed by the LNG plants amounting to Rs103.7 billion is not expected to be fetched. The government would get $500-$600 million after excluding liabilities, which would be politically difficult to sell to the people as the “best price”.

The National Power Parks Management Company Limited (NPPMCL) owns 1,230 megawatts (MW) Haveli Bahadur Shah and 1,223MW Balloki power plants. The plants have been set up through Pakistan Development Fund proceeds instead of 70:30 debt to equity ratio.

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The debt of Rs103.7 billion has to be replaced through bank borrowings, thus reducing the final price.

Pakistan would offer 10 percent stakes to Qatar in the government-owned listed companies, in line with the similar offer that it made to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) which is keen to take 20 percent stakes in oil and gas companies of Pakistan.

The meeting decided to offer 51 percent stakes in the PIA and the Roosevelt Hotel along with management control to Qatar. However, the hurdle has been the PIA law that bars selling more than 49 percent stakes and giving management control to another party. Therefore, a decision has also been made to initiate the legal process to amend the PIA law.

According to the media report, offer of Islamabad International Airport’s management along with handling of air and cargo business to Qatar was also discussed in the meeting. The government also discussed proposal for Qatar to set up a $1 billion food and livestock security fund for investment in Pakistan.



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