Pakistan to sell assets in desperate attempt to prevent default

Islamabad: In a desperate attempt to save the country from default through emergency sale of state’s assets to foreign countries, the Pakistan federal cabinet has approved an ordinance to bypass all the procedures for the process and also abolished regulatory checks including the applicability of six relevant laws, media reports said.

Through the Inter-Governmental Commercial Transactions Ordinance 2022, the Centre has also empowered itself to issue binding instructions to the provincial governments for land acquisition, according to a copy of the ordinance, Express Tribune reported.

Pakistan President Arif Alvi has not signed the ordinance yet.

The Pakistan government has also barred the courts of the country from entertaining any petition against the sale of assets and shares of the government companies to foreign countries, as per the ordinance, Express Tribune reported.

The federal cabinet had approved the ordinance on Thursday to sell stakes of oil and gas companies and government-owned power plants to the UAE to raise $2 billion to $2.5 billion to avoid the looming default.

The UAE had in May refused to give cash deposits due to Islamabad’s inability to return previous loans and instead asked to open its companies for investment.

Finance Minister Miftah Ismail had said this week that it usually took 471 days to complete one privatisation transaction. He had added that the government had to conclude deals with foreign countries in days to urgently raise funds.

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has placed a condition that Pakistan’s case could not be taken to the board until it arranged $4 billion from friendly countries to bridge the financing gap.

The federal Law Minister had not provided the reason for the purpose of this article.


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