The National Assembly’s Standing Committee on Finance and Revenue on Tuesday approved the formation of the Federal Government Properties Management Authority (FGPMA).
FGPMA is aimed at recovering prime federal government properties all over the country and eventually ensure their disposal to generate funds.
During the committee meeting members unanimously approved the FGPMA as both the members of ruling party and opposition parties agreed that there was a need for a centralized system of government properties. The committee discussed and recommended that the bill may be passed by the National Assembly, with slight amendments.
It may be mentioned here that the government had introduced an ordinance in August 2021 under a cabinet decision in July 2021 to set up the FGPMA to deal with the properties of the federal government, federal ministries and allied departments located all over the country for their better utilization.
A bill to provide permanent legal cover to the authority was introduced in the National Assembly and pending clearance by the National Assembly’s Standing Committee on Finance and Revenue.
In July, the cabinet had approved the formation of FGPMA to dispose of federal government properties worth trillions of rupees which were presently under encroachment or not in any use.
While introducing a bill in the national assembly for setting up of FGPMA in September, the government had explained that the government owned vast tracts of urban and rural property throughout the length and breadth of the country.
These fixed assets are owned, operated and managed by the federal ministries, divisions and organizations under their control and many of these lands have gained in value over time due to expansion of urban areas and growth of commercial activities.
“However, most of the government entities have not been able to manage these assets optimally and many of them are beset with multiple problems like encroachment and illegal occupation,” read the statement of objects and reasons of the bill.
There have been several unsuccessful attempts in the past to make use of some of the properties for generating optimum economic returns because managing assets particularly land was a specialized function that none of the government organizations like Pakistan Railways have the mandate and capacity to perform in a manner that generates valuable returns.
Therefore a professional and dedicated entity is needed to own, manage, operate or lease properties of the federal government.
During the meeting the finance ministry’s officials informed that the government will constitute a Board of Governors of the FGPMA including four members from the private sector, four ex-officio members to be appointed by the government, the director general of the FGPMA while minister in charge of the Finance Ministry would be the chairman of the board.
Meanwhile, for better governance and operation of over 200 State-owned Enterprises (SOEs), the finance ministry informed the committee that the government is going to introduce an Ownership Management Policy with technical support from the IMF and ADB. The ministry was introducing the policy to manage the SOEs through a coherent and institutionalized arrangement.
It was informed that the over 200 SOEs which included commercial, noncommercial and subsidiaries were being governed by 22 ministries and no policy framework exists in Pakistan which covers the entire SOEs portfolio.
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