Finance Minister Miftah Ismail addresses a press conference in Islamabad, on August 26, 2022. — YouTube/PTVNewsLive

Miftah Ismail says no intention of selling Roosevelt Hotel, PIA to Qatar

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Finance Minister Miftah Ismail addresses a press conference in Islamabad, on August 26, 2022. — YouTube/PTVNewsLive
  • Miftah rebuts reports of selling Roosevelt Hotel’s shares to Qatar.
  • Qatar plans to invest in Pakistan’s airport, seaport, PSX, Miftah says.
  • He says IMF executive board to release loan after Monday meeting.

ISLAMABAD: Finance Minister Miftah Ismail clarified on Friday that the federal government has no intention of selling the shares of Roosevelt Hotel, New York, and Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) to Qatar.

The finance minister’s press conference came after reports suggested that Pakistan was mulling selling shares of both the state assets to acquire loans from the Gulf state.

“Coincidentally, we did not speak about Roosevelt Hotel during our meetings,” the finance minister said, shedding light on Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif’s two-day visit to Qatar.

During the prime minister’s visit, Qatar’s Emiri Diwan confirmed that the Qatar Investment Authority (QIA) aims to invest $3 billion in Pakistan.

Bloomberg, citing an official, reported that the QIA investments could partly overlap with the $2 billion in bilateral support Qatar has already planned for Pakistan.

In the press conference, Miftah also confirmed that the gas-rich state has plans of investing in a long-term lease of Pakistan’s airports and management control, not buying them.

The finance minister shared that Qatar has plans to construct a terminal on Pakistan’s seaports or invest in the country’s LNG plants or put their money in the large-scale power plants.

“Finally, if all these things do not work out, and they also intent on helping Pakistan, then the country will invest in Pakistan’s stock market,” Miftah said.

The finance minister said that Qatar has pledged to invest $5 billion in Pakistan, while Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates have also affirmed investing in the country — helping Islamabad overcome the financing gap of $4 billion.

The financing gap was a pre-requisite of the money lender as it had asked Pakistan to ensure that it has secured the dollars before it signs off on providing the much-needed $1.17 billion tranche to Islamabad.

Miftah said that Pakistan has fulfilled all the requirements of the IMF and that the country will receive the next tranche after its board meeting on Monday.

Fuel price adjustment

The finance minister also clarified that those who have not yet paid the electricity bills will be issued with correct ones without fuel price adjustment.

He said that for those who already have paid the bills, the adjustment will be made in their September bills.

The finance minister said the prime minister has also constituted a committee to consider how the consumers using between 200 and 300 units can be facilitated.

Following the announcement of the relief package by Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, Minister for Power Khurram Dastgir Khan earlier this week explained that only the households that consume electricity up to 200 units will be exempt from fuel charges adjustment (FCA).

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