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Pakistan government to sell properties of federal ministries to pay off debt

twitter-logoPTI | March 20, 2019 | Updated 17:52 IST

Islamabad, Mar 20 (PTI) The cash-strapped Pakistan government has decided to sell unused properties owned by federal ministries to pay off the country's mounting debts, the media reported Wednesday. The decision was taken during a Cabinet meeting chaired by Prime Minister Imran Khan on Tuesday aimed at finding solutions for generating revenue and boosting up the country's paralysed economy which is already under a debt of over 27 trillion Pakistani rupees. Pakistan Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry said that only those properties of ministries and allied departments would be put up for sale which are lying unused. "Prime Minister Khan has sought the lists of properties of ministries for disposal," the minister was quoted as saying by Dawn newspaper. Chaudhry said the ministries had already finalised their lists of properties and sent them to the Cabinet. Explaining the procedures to be adopted for the disposal of assets, the minister said this could be done by adopting a uniform policy that would also describe a modus operandi to legally sell off the properties. To fast-track the process of selling the properties, an Asset Management Committee has been formed by the Ministry of Privatisation on the directions of Prime Minister Khan. Meanwhile, the commission has received details of over 45,000 unused properties to be put on sale with majority of them being disputed, the Express Tribune reported. According to the report, the first sale of properties would take at least six months to complete despite relaxation in some regulations. The Privatisation Commission would first short list valuators who would then value the properties selected for sale. The reference price given by the valuators will be approved by the board of the Privatisation Commission and the Cabinet Committee on Privatisation, the officials of the commission added. Prime Minister Khan had in September last year suggested that thousands of acres of "dead capital" can be used for productive purposes. Pakistan has received financial aid worth billions of dollars from Saudi Arabia, the UAE and China to overcome the financial crisis. Islamabad is also negotiating with the International Monetary Fund for an aid package. PTI RS AKJ MRJ

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