ISLAMABAD: Caretaker Finance Minister Dr Shamshad Akhtar is retaining the place of chairperson and unbiased director on the board of administrators of the state-run Sui Southern Gas Company Ltd (SSGCL) apparently in opposition to the letter and spirit of the State Owned Enterprises (Governance and Operations) Act 2023.
Dr Akhtar who additionally continues to be the chairperson and unbiased director of the Pakistan Stock Exchange amongst others had assumed the official place of the caretaker finance minister in August final 12 months. As finance minister, all the company sector together with the PSX comes underneath the coverage jurisdiction of the Ministry of Finance though the monetary pursuits of the federal government and the inventory trade usually are not solely completely different however might probably battle with one another.
The caretaker minister didn’t reply to written questions in regards to the battle of curiosity and violations of the SOE’s regulation for holding the place of SSGCL chairperson and the finance minister on the similar time. However, at a latest information convention, she denied that the gasoline tariff enhance involving funds of the gasoline firm as chairperson of the Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) of the Cabinet and BoD of SSGCL had any battle of curiosity.
In distinction, Minister for Power and Petroleum Muhammad Ali quickly after becoming a member of the caretaker cupboard acquired a resignation from a member of the family working within the Power Division for years to rule out the battle of curiosity.
Law bars public officers from holding a number of positions
His ministry — Petroleum Division of the Ministry of Energy — has formally reminded the SSGCL firm secretary and chairperson of the SSGCL board that the time period of the board had expired way back and a number of extensions have additionally lapsed since.
“Since the time period of present board has already expired, it’s required that elections should be held on the earliest”, it wrote on Dec 28, 2023, including that elections have been scheduled on Oct 23, 2023, however postponed for six weeks and with the approval of the SECP the date for board elections was prolonged until Dec 4, 2023. However, the elections weren’t held inside the stipulated time and have been postponed for the fourth time until March 4.
As a public sector listed firm, the SSGCL is topic to the applicability of the SOE Act 2023 and the Companies Act of 2017. Interestingly, Dr Akhtar herself introduced the SOE coverage as finance minister underneath the SOE Act as a coverage motion underneath the IMF programme. Section 11(i) of the SOE regulation explicitly requires that a person holding a political workplace, no matter any legislative function, is barred from being appointed or persevering with the place of an unbiased director.
Also, part 31 of the mentioned regulation requires the federal authorities to arrange a central monitoring unit (CMU) within the Ministry of Finance to make sure quarterly reporting on the efficiency of SOEs. The CMU has already been established it has additionally printed up to date monetary stories of SOEs due to the Dec 31 deadline of the IMF. As finance minister, each CMU and SSGCL come underneath her supervision.
Likewise, part 166(2)(h) of the Companies Act 2017 requires that an unbiased director, in case of a public sector entity, shouldn’t be within the service of an establishment owned or managed by the federal government. Interestingly, the caretaker finance minister is concurrently holding the place of board chairperson of an entity that’s owned and managed by the federal government.
Published in Dawn, January seventeenth, 2024