The Privatisation Commission has auctioned the Services International Hotel in Lahore to the highest bidder for Rs1.951 billion against the reserved price of Rs1.949 billion.

Only two bidders participated in the auction and a renowned real estate developer of Lahore, Faisal Town (Pvt) Ltd, gave the highest bid, according to an official announcement.

Federal Minister for Privatisation Mohammadmian Soomro said the government believed in merit and transparency in the auction of state-owned properties.

He said that the auction had fetched more than the base price, adding that main purpose of the auction was to reduce the burden of debt retirement on the country.

Sources in the Privatisation Commission explained that the reserved price was fixed following market valuation as the Services International Hotel was not functional.

The price at which the board allowed to sell the building, spread over 15 kanals three marlas property located at the Mall in Lahore, was Rs300 million lower than originally approved price of Rs2.25 billion by the board in March this year. However, subsequently, the commission downward revised the minimum price to Rs1.949 billion in June.

According to rules, the successful bidder will now have to pay 30 percent of the accepted bid price within 20 working days of issuance of the letter of acceptance. The remaining 70 percent of the accepted bid price will have to be paid within 60 working days of issuance of the letter of acceptance.

He said on the directives of Prime Minister Imran Khan, the auction process of state-owned properties was being carried out in a transparent manner.

He said the government had a plan to privatise all public sector departments which were running in loss, adding that under the plan, Pakistan Steel Mills, Mari Petroleum, Jinnah Convention Centre of Islamabad, SME Bank, First Women Bank, PPL, Guddu Power Plant, Heavy Electrical Complex and other power plants were being privatised.

He said the government had to face some financial problems due to COVID-19, but now the country was on the road to progress and exports were increasing.

He said the process of privatisation of Balloki and Bahadur Shah power plants was delayed due to Covid-19 because the international investors wanted to visit the plants physically, which was not possible owing the travel advisory restrictions, but now the matter was on track again and transaction would be completed within prescribed time.

About privatisation of Pakistan Steel Mills, Soomro said that the expression of interest from investors would be invited soon.

The story was filed by the News Desk.
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