Govt to Handover PIA to Qatar

According to the Express Tribune, the government intends to give Qatar a 51 percent share each in Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) and the Roosevelt Hotel in New York. It has earlier chosen to sell the Gulf nation two LNG power projects, Haveli Bahadur Shah and Balloki.

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The choice was made at a gathering called to plan Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif’s trip to Qatar the following week. Additionally, the prime minister established a committee to swiftly complete these recommendations before his departure. Both former prime minister Shahid Khaqaan Abbasi and the minister of finance, Miftah Ismail, were present at the meeting.

Previously, the government intended to raise money by selling two LNG power stations to Qatar. However, other people expressed worry that because the power plants already had a debt of Rs. 104 billion, they would not be able to raise money. They argued that the government might only be able to acquire $500–600 million, liabilities excluded. This is not the best price.

Currently, the Haveli Bahadur Shah and Balloki power plants, each rated at 1,223 megawatts (MW), are owned by the National Power Parks Management Company Limited (NPPMCL).
At a recent news conference, Finance Minister Miftah Ismail stated that he expected to raise $8.5 billion in foreign inflows in FY23 to close a $35 billion shortfall in external finance. This amount includes the revenues from the sale of the two power facilities.

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The government will also transfer operational authority to Qatar along with the 51% holdings in the Roosevelt Hotel and the PIA, it was also determined at the conference. The sale of more than 49 percent of holdings or the transfer of operational control, however, is prohibited under PIA regulations. The administration has also made the decision to start the legal process right now to change the PIA statute to accommodate their idea.

The PIA, through PIA-Investment Limited, is the owner of the Roosevelt Hotel. Through a British Virgin Islands-registered company, the PIA-IL owns its holdings. The hotel, which was in a pricey area, was shut down in December 2020.

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