The Privatisation Commission Board has okayed the British multinational Ernst & Young as financial adviser for the privatisation of the Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) to ready the financially-struggling entity for sale.

The board that met here with caretaker Minister for Privatisation Fawad Hasan Fawad in the chair on Friday granted approval to appoint the financial advisor (FA) for the divestment of the Pakistan International Airlines Corporation (PIACL). Eight parties had submitted proposals to be the financial advisor. The Evaluation Committee, formed by the Privatisation Commission Board, declared the “Consortium led by Earnest & Young” as the top-ranked party based on criteria. The board established a negotiating committee to finalise the financial services agreement with the top-ranked bidder.Notably, caretaker Prime Minister Anwaarul Haq Kakar’s directive to hasten the PIA privatisation has been met with action. The Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) recently cleared a Rs 8 billion bridge financing package for the PIA, drawing from resources of the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) to settle overdue payments. Under the chairmanship of caretaker Finance Minister Dr Shamshad Akhtar, the ECC had approved a bilateral arrangement between the CAA and the PIA. The Aviation Division’s proposal for financial support through the CAA to address the airline’s pressing needs has gained traction.The board also granted a 24-month extension to financial services agreements to the House Building Finance Corporation Limited (HBFCL) and the First Women Bank Limited (FWBL) each. The board also discussed longstanding issues related to the 35-year pending privatisation of the Pak-China Fertiliser Limited (PCFL).

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