The Ministry of Finance, following recommendations from the International Monetary Fund (IMF), has directed the Competition Commission of Pakistan (CCP) to conduct urgent sector-specific studies in a bid to audit major economic sectors to identify entry barriers for the private sector and promote competition.
This initiative targets sectors with significant involvement of state-owned enterprises (SOEs), including power, transport & communications, finance, and oil & gas, which covers both liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) and liquefied natural gas (LNG).
This audit is part of a broader effort to improve public finance management, address procurement practices that may hinder private sector competition, and enhance oversight of public-private partnerships and SOEs.
As per a report by Dawn, these studies are to align with the Public Procurement Regulatory Authority (PPRA) and Public Investment Management Assessment (PIMA) guidelines outlined by the IMF.
A technical mission from the IMF has highlighted the importance of these measures in a recent report, noting they are critical for managing public investment risks and will be part of the 2024-25 budget considerations.
The IMF has emphasized the need for comprehensive monitoring and coordination to ensure a competitive and transparent investment environment.
The CCP’s earlier investigations into LPG and LNG sectors are being expanded to include other areas heavily influenced by SOEs, aiming to implement the IMF’s recommendations to mitigate monopolistic tendencies and facilitate new business entries.
This expansion is in response to the private sector’s limited involvement outside of telecommunications, power generation, and certain transport segments.
In addition to CCP’s studies, the government plans to form special committees composed of finance, planning ministry representatives, and sector experts to recommend policy adjustments.