Islamabad: Pakistan Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif on Thursday directed the concerned officials to expedite the privatisation process of Pakistan International Airlines (PIA), Pakistan Steel Mills (PSM), and other loss-making state-owned institutions, ARY News reported.

According to the report, PM Sharif called a high-level meeting in Islamabad to take stock of the privatisation process and also directed that immediate measures should be taken to strengthen the ability of the institutions in charge of privatisation to resuscitate the economy and speed up the process of delivering assistance to people.

ARY News reported that the meeting reviewed the progress made so far and the challenges in privatising loss-making state-owned enterprises including Pakistan International Airlines, First Women Bank, Roosevelt Hotel, Heavy Electrical Complex, power plants, and power distribution companies, as well as Pakistan Steel Mills Corporation.

During the meeting, a committee was also formed to review the idea of transferring power businesses to the provinces. The committee has been tasked to present its recommendations to the prime minister.

PM Shehbaz said that the Pakistani people are compelled to bear the enormous cost of keeping loss-making businesses functioning.

He emphasized the importance of creating a competitive climate to speed up economic activities and provide the finest possible services to the people. He asked ministries, departments, and institutions to offer ideas that demonstrate professionalism and devotion, terming it a subject of Pakistan's growth.

Earlier, it was reported that then-Pakistan's caretaker government and banks had agreed on a plan to restructure the debt of troubled Pakistan International Airlines (PIA).

Under the budget agreement, the government will utilize proceeds from the sale of PIA for principal payments. In return, banks will accept a 10-year debt rollover with a 12 per cent annual interest rate, resulting in Pakistan rupees (PKR) 32.2 billion in annual interest payments as reported by the Express Tribune in Pakistan.

According to the sources, the finance ministry, the privatization ministry including the representatives of nine commercial banks, a total debt of PKR 268 billion debt, including PKR 250 billion principal, is being rearranged for 10 years. The government decided to pay back the debt annually at 12 per cent

PIA's total outstanding debt stands at PKR 825 billion. The privatization ministry and PIA must secure no objection certificates from the Civil Aviation Authority and Federal Board of Revenue to file a scheme of arrangement with the Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP), The Express Tribune reported.

The Interim Finance minister had earlier stated that PIA's PKR 825 billion debt would be transferred to a holding company. "I do not know what to do with this debt," remarked the finance minister while speaking at a seminar on the economic issues of the country.

The banks have agreed to provide a NOC to SECP to transfer their PKR 268 billion debt to the holding company and surrender their claim on PIA's assets.

This report is auto-generated from a syndicated feed