No OGDCL privatization, govt just divesting 10pc shares: minister

ISLAMABAD: State Minister for Privatization, Muhammad Zubair Friday clarified that government was not privatizing Oil and Gas Development Company (OGDCL) as divesting some of the company’s shares could not be termed as privatization.

Addressing a press conference here, the minister said even after off loading 10 percent shares the government would still be the majority shareholder so the structure of the company would remain in tact and no employee would be sacked.

He said the government had currently 75 percent shares in OGDCL out of which only 10 percent shares were being off loaded through capital market.

The minister said there would be no further off loading of the OGDCL shares except the forthcoming transaction.

He said out of 322 million shares for sale 311 million would be offered to institutional investors while out of the remaining 11 million shares two thirds would be offered to general public and one third to OGDCL employees.

The Minister of State dispelled the impression that the OGDCL shares were being divested without any legal authority, clarifying that the Supreme Court of Pakistan had allowed the government last month to proceed with the transaction.

He also denied that the transaction was being done on the direction of the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

He said that comprehensive and transparent procedure was followed in the divestment of OGDCL shares as the approval to this transaction was given in January 2014 which was followed by appointment of financial advertiser through public advertisement and then Board of Directors and the cabinet gave approval.

He said that questions raised by some political parties were not justified as these parties did not point finger when shares of UBL and PPL were divested on the same pattern earlier this year.

He said that Pakistan People’s Party privatized as many as 27 public entities during its tenure from 199- 96.

So when the PPP followed the privatization policy why was it against the divestment of some shares by current government, he said.

The minister said that the employees of OGDCL could become major beneficiaries of this divestment as they had an opportunity to purchase shares of the company on cheaper rates.

He said that the federal government was ready to address all the concerns of the employees of the company and was ready to meet the union leaders to clarify their misconceptions.

The minister said the entire process was planned to be completed in September 2014 but it was delayed due to political situation meanwhile international oil and gas prices reduced and consequently OGDCL share prices were also reduced from Rs 250 per share to Rs 227 per share.

He said that although the reduction in oil prices would have positive impact on the country’s overall economic situation, however, it reduced the estimated income from 830 million from OGDCL shares to 700 million.