Saudis high potential investors for Pakistan privatization bid 

This photograph taken on April 13, 2016, shows a general view of the dockside at the port of Gwadar, some 700kms west of Karachi. (AFP/File)
Updated 18 November 2019

Saudis high potential investors for Pakistan privatization bid 

  • Government advertised privatization of two power plants, expecting to raise $2 bn
  • Plants were set up from a development fund with $1.5 bn gifted by former Saudi King Abdullah 

KARACHI: Pakistan has invited Expressions of Interest (EOI) for the privatization of two Re-Gasified Liquefied Natural Gas (RLNG) based power plants, currently managed by the National Power Parks Management Company (NPPMCL), according to an advertisement uploaded on the Pakistan Privatization Commission website on Sunday.

The plants were built with funds used from a development fund set up in 2013, with $1.5 billion gifted by then Saudi King Abdullah. Now, Pakistan expects to generate around $2 billion from the sell-of
The commission has drawn up a list of 17 state-owned entities for privatization and has sought official EOI from potential investors for the 1,223 megawatts Balloki and 1,230 megawatts Haveli Bahadur power plants- considered two of the most efficient RLNG plants in the world.
Last year, Saudi investors had shown an interest in acquiring the two plants through a government-to-government deal, but the Pakistan government decided to follow legal procedures for privatization and the deal didn’t go through.

“Saudis are one of the most high potential investors for these plants. They had also previously shown an interest in an oil refinery, agriculture, and livestock, technology, and tourism, among many other sectors,” a member of the privatization board, who declined to be named, told Arab News on Sunday.

Interested investors are required to submit their EoIs no later than Dec. 23. 

The South Asian country, home to 210 million people, faced huge economic imbalances and availed a $6 billion bailout from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in July this year.

Now the country is hoping to raise more funds through the privatization of loss-making state-owned entities and to build up its foreign exchange reserves as suggested by the IMF.

Analysts say that the privatization of power plants will ensure operational efficiency and bring in much needed foreign exchange for the country.
 
“I think it's positive because the government shouldn’t be in business, and should only act as a strong regulator. The transaction will bring required dollar in-flows as well as efficiency in operations,” Samiullah Tariq, Director Research at Arif Habib Limited, a brokerage, told Arab News.

The Haveli Bahadur Shah Project is the most efficient power plant in the world with an unprecedented efficiency of 62.45 percent on R-LNG fuel.

This high efficiency translates directly into huge savings for the national exchequer through fuel cost savings and provides cheap electricity to the masses and industry. The plant started commercial operations on May 9, 2018.

The Balloki plant has an efficiency of greater than 61 percent. It entered commercial operations in July last year and generates the equivalent power needed to supply more than six million homes, according to the NPPMCL.

The Cab­inet Committee on Privatization approved the privatization of the two plants in September. Under the approval, if the highest bidder for both plants is the same, the investor will be able to buy the combined entity. But a de-merger will be a condition for the transaction if the bidders for both plants are different.


Pakistan police raid house of leader Imran Khan’s nephew

Updated 14 December 2019

Pakistan police raid house of leader Imran Khan’s nephew

  • The PM's nephew, a lawyer, was caught on video partaking in a violent protest at a local hospital, led by members of the legal fraternity
  • PM Khan, who has not commented on his nephew, has ordered an inquiry into the riot

LAHORE: Pakistan police raided the house of Prime Minister Imran Khan’s nephew on Saturday in eastern Lahore, after a video emerged showing him taking part in deadly hospital riots days earlier.
Three patients died, medical officials said, after roughly 200 lawyers stormed Punjab Heart Institute hospital in the city on Wednesday, vandalising property and setting ablaze a police van after a dispute with doctors.
TV channels ran footage showing Khan’s nephew Hassan Niazi, a lawyer, at the hospital and watching as a police vehicle was set on fire.
“The Prime Minister of Pakistan’s nephew’s house and other premises, such as farmhouse and business places were raided,” Punjab’s Minister for Information Fayyaz ul Hassan Chohan confirmed at a press conference on Saturday.
Chohan, who said five locations had been investigated by police, added: “He will be arrested at any cost... all are equal in the eye of law.”
A senior police official also confirmed to AFP the raid was made early Saturday morning, but Niazi was not present.
In an earlier, now-deleted tweet, Khan’s nephew had expressed support for the rally but later distanced himself from the actions of the lawyers present.
“My support and protest was limited to initiation of legal action against the concerned doctors. I only stand for peaceful protests. It’s sad day and I condemn my own self for supporting this protest now,” he tweeted.
Around 80 lawyers have been arrested and Khan — who has not commented on his nephew — has ordered an inquiry into the riot.