ISLAMABAD: Hamad Obaid Ibrahim Salem Al-Zaabi, UAE’s ambassador to Islamabad, called on Pakistani Privatization Minister Fawad Hasan Fawad on Monday and discussed the ongoing privatization of state entities and opportunities for future investment, state-run news agency APP said.
Pakistan’s caretaker government said in September it would improve governance at state-owned companies and earmarked 10 for privatization or turnaround efforts, as it strives to deliver reforms under its International Monetary Fund bailout.
Under the $3 billion bailout package from the IMF, which was critical in averting a sovereign debt default, state-owned entities (SOEs), whose losses are burning a hole in government finances, will need stronger governance.
As of 2020, the accumulated losses for SOEs amounted to 500 billion rupees ($1.74 billion), according to data from the finance ministry released in September.
“Fawad Hasan Fawad apprised the Ambassador of the ongoing privatization process in Pakistan and the opportunities of investment that may arise in the near future which can provide a very good return on investment,” APP said after the meeting between the minister and the envoy.
“Issues of mutual interest and cooperation came under discussion at length.”
Pakistan has also been discussing outsourcing operations of several of its state-owned assets to outside companies, with local media reporting interest from firms in the UAE, Saudi Arabia and China.
In March, the government kicked off outsourcing of operations and land assets at three major airports to be run under a public private partnership, a move to generate foreign exchange reserves for its ailing economy.
The government has budgeted only about 15 billion Pakistani rupees ($52.42 million) in receipts from a stalled privatization process in its budget for the fiscal year 2024.