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Govt rules out State Life privatisation

Govt rules out State Life privatisation

ISLAMABAD: The government on Tuesday gave an assurance to a Senate committee that there was no plan to privatise the State Life Insurance Corporation (SLIC) rather its shares would be floated in the stock exchange.

The revelation came at a meeting of the Senate Standing Committee on Commerce, which asked for clarity about the government’s plan, if any, to privatise the largest insurance company of Pakistan.

“We strongly oppose any move to privatise the State Life Insurance Corporation, which is one of the leading profit-making organisations in the public sector,” said Committee Chairman Senator Shibli Faraz, who chaired the meeting.

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He said it seemed that the government was taking another wrong step by selling off SLIC, which held assets of hundreds of billions of rupees across the country.

“There is always room for improvement in an organisation and you can bring new products and improve management rather than privatising the enterprise,” Faraz said. “We fiercely oppose any steps to sell the company at any level.”

He urged officials of the commerce ministry to consult all stakeholders before taking any such decision and cited the privatisation of Pakistan Telecommunication Company Limited (PTCL). In this case, the government has failed to recover the outstanding $800 million from Etisalat, a UAE company that acquired management control of PTCL in 2006.

Faraz asked what would be the fate of the national health insurance programme launched recently by the government through SLIC if the company was sold because a private owner may not take care of such social aspects.

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Federal Secretary Commerce Azmat Ranjha, while ruling out any plan to sell off SLIC, insisted that the government was undertaking measures to corporatise the company in order to improve its services.

“Let me make it clear that there is no plan on the cards to sell State Life at any level,” he remarked.

Senator Usman Khan Karar declared that they would oppose any kind of privatisation or any other act, which hurt public interest and the interest of employees of the company.

Briefing the Senate panel, SLIC executives said the insurance giant had a paid-up capital of Rs3.3 billion and owned 54 properties including plots, commercial and residential buildings across the country.

Courtesy : Express Tribune



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