Caretakers determined to close ‘non-functional’ public companies

  • Final decision on fate of Punjab govt’s companies to be taken after taking opinion from law, finance depts


LAHORE: With just two days left before the election, a meeting of Punjab caretaker cabinet on Monday gave approval for the closure of “non-active and non-functional public sector companies” through a legal mechanism, even though the tenure of the interim government is going to expire as soon as the new government occupies office after polls.

The meeting of the provincial cabinet lasted for three hours with Punjab Caretaker Chief Minister Dr Hassan Askari in the chair at his office.

The meeting said that the final opinion will be solicited from law and finance departments to determine the future of public sector companies which have been given funds, and in the light of this opinion, a final decision will be taken.

Last month, the provincial interim government had decided to disband 12 “non-active and non-operational corporations” established by ex-chief minister Shehbaz Sharif after fulfilling all legal requirements, rules and regulations and getting a NoC from the accountability watchdog, the National Accountability Bureau (NAB).

It was reported that all “unnecessary” public sector companies formed by the outgoing Punjab government would be disbanded by CM Askari. Out of 71, at least 62 companies were active.

The PML-N’s Punjab government had landed into hot water after NAB had decided to initiate graft proceedings against the government pertaining to Rs80 billion embezzlements last year.

Besides NAB, the Lahore High Court (LHC) is also hearing a case of about Rs80 billion corruption in these companies. This probe among other things had led to an escalation of tension between Shehbaz-led Punjab government at that time and the anti-graft bureau.

In addition to that, the Supreme Court had also taken notice of the recruitment of officials on inordinately high salaries as chief executives of the 56 public companies.

The meeting of the cabinet on Monday also approved to amend the first schedule of code of civil procedure 1908.

The provincial cabinet approved to constitute the administrative committee for Punjab Institute of Cardiology, Lahore along with constitution of the board of management of Shaikh Zayed Medical College and Hospital Rahim Yar Khan. Approval was given to formulating board of management for Children Hospital and Institute of Child Health, Lahore.

Furthermore, it was decided to give the facility of additional working capital amounting to Rs3.175 billion to Quaid-e-Azam Thermal Power Ltd., besides approving setting up of Punjab Tianjin University of Technology at Township, Lahore.

It was further decided that the Punjab government employees will voluntarily give their salary for the fund established for construction of Diamer-Bhasha and Mohmand dams. Officials from grade one to 16 will give one day’s salary while grade 17 to 22 officers will donate their two days’ salary.

Addressing the meeting, CM Askari said that construction of Diamer-Bhasha Dam is vital for the country, adding that the citizens should deposit according to their capacity in this noble cause for meeting the water needs of the country.

The meeting strongly condemned the incidents of terrorism in Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) and offered Fateha for the departed souls of Siraj Raisani, Haroon Bilour, Ikramullah Gandapur and other martyrs.

On the occasion, Punjab cabinet meeting also reiterated the commitment of holding free, fair and impartial elections on July 25 and decided to follow stringent security arrangements across the province keeping in view the recent incidents of terrorism.

Provincial ministers, Punjab chief secretary, ACS, P&D chairman, concerned secretaries and high officials also attended the meeting.