Privatisation Commission has again clarified that Oil and Gas Development Company Limited (OGDCL) is not being privatised. Addressing a news conference in Islamabad on Friday, Minister of State for Privatisation Muhammad Zubair said there would be no further off-loading of the OGDCL shares, except the forthcoming transaction. “We have no plan to further off-load the shares of the oil company during the remaining tenure of the incumbent government,” he said.
He said the concerns of political parties and employees unions of OGDCL were addressed in the past and “we are ready to address them again”. He said the government has offered 6 percent discount on OGDCL’s shares to potential buyers. “The revenue estimates in September on 10 percent shares of OGDCL was $813 million but in November it has been revised to $700 million as a result of a reduction in the price of oil in international market as well as a Rs 40-45 reduction in OGDCL’s share,” he added.
He admitted that the OGDCL’s shares are being off loaded on reduced price but overall Pakistan has been benefiting from a reduction in the price of oil as it will save an estimated $3 billion on oil import bill annually. He said the government has currently a 75 percent stake in OGDCL; and only ten percent shares are being offloaded through capital market. He said the OGDCL’s shares are being offloaded on a patron similar to one adopted in divesting of Pakistan Petroleum Limited’s (PPL) shares in capital market.
Zubair said even after the offloading of 10 percent shares, the government would still be a majority shareholder. According to him, the management of the company will not be handed over to buyers of these shares. He said the PC has a prior approval from Competition Commission of Pakistan (CCoP).
He said out of 322 million shares for sell-off, 311 million would be offered to institutional investors. Of the remaining eleven million shares a two-thirds would be offered to general public and one-third to OGDCL employees. “It is international practice that a certain amount of shares is offered to employees of the entity for their welfare,” he added. The Minister of State also dispelled the impression that the OGDCL shares are being divested without any legal authority. He said the Supreme Court allowed the Government on October 20 to proceed with the transaction. Replying to a question regarding the impact of 18th Constitutional Amendment and the shares of provinces, he categorically said that provinces have no shares in OGDCL and the matter has been pending in Supreme Court of Pakistan.
He denied that the transaction is being carried out to please the IMF. He said that Pakistan has approached the IMF with its own plan and there is no binding on the government to offload OGDCL’s shares in September or November. Responding to Pakistan People’s Party’s Senator Raza Rabbani, he said during second tenure of PPP, Benazir Bhutto privatised 27 profitable and loss-making entities. In the previous government of PPP, Naveed Qamar tried to sell-off entities; however, he remained unsuccessful.
SOURCE: RECORDER REPORT