A recovery authority has been established to reclaim government property. The government is attempting to activate the Federal Government Properties Management Authority (FGPMA) as soon as possible. The FGPMA will be entrusted with recovering prime federal government properties throughout the country and eventually ensuring its disposition to produce revenue.
In August this year, the government adopted an ordinance after a cabinet resolution in July to establish the FGPMA to manage the federal government’s, federal ministries, and associated departments’ properties situated around the country for optimal utilization. Additionally, a bill providing the authority with permanent legal protection has been presented in the National Assembly. It is awaiting approval by the National Assembly’s Standing Committee on Finance and Revenue.
Shaukat Tarin, the Prime Minister’s Adviser on Finance and Revenue, convened a meeting to examine the FGPMA’s establishment, also attended by Senator Aon Abbas Buppi. The meeting was informed that an official notification authorizing the formation of the FGPMA had been issued.
However, Mr Tarin remarked that notice alone was insufficient and directed that the company be fully operational as soon as possible to maximize the use of government assets and obtain the most value for money for government assets. He also asked the appropriate officials to complete the codal processes expeditiously.
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The new corporation would be tasked with the responsibility of managing assets acquired through private investments.
The cabinet approved the establishment of the FGPMA in July to dispose of federal government properties worth trillions of rupees that were currently encroached upon or unused.
In September, while submitting a bill in the national assembly to establish the FGPMA, the government stated that it possessed huge tracts of urban and rural property across the length and breadth of the country. These fixed assets are owned, operated, and managed by federal ministries, divisions, and organizations under their jurisdiction. Many of these lands have appreciated over time as urbanization and commercial activity has increased.
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“However, the majority of government organizations have been unable to manage these assets properly, and many are plagued by multiple issues such as encroachment, unlawful occupation, and so on,” said the bill’s statement of aims and reasons.
There have been several failed attempts to maximize economic returns from some of the properties because managing assets, particularly land, is a specialized function that none of the government organizations, such as Pakistan Railways, have the mandate or capacity to perform effectively. Thus, the professional and committed entity – FGPMA — was formed to own, administer, operate, and lease federal government properties.
A new entity, which will be headquartered in Islamabad, will be empowered to effectively manage and utilize these assets by attracting private investment from both domestic and international sources to undertake special projects and generate revenues, as well as to facilitate job creation, human resource development, and export enhancement, all of which will bolster economic growth and service delivery.
It will assume control of and develop a database of government-owned assets, undertake anti-encroachment activities, and seize any government-owned asset.
The government will establish a Board of Governors for the FGPMA, consisting of four private-sector members, four ex-officio members to be selected by the government, the FGPMA’s director-general, and the minister in charge of the Finance Ministry as chairman.
It will be a corporation with a Director-General who will serve as the authority’s chief accounting officer. The DG would be accountable for the entity’s management, administration, and operations. The government may delegate any project to the authority, including private investment, in any form and stage of the project’s lifecycle.
“No suit, prosecution, or other legal procedure against any individual shall lie for anything done or intended to be done in good faith, including acts of omission and commission,” unless approved in advance by its board of governors. Additionally, “no court shall issue an order influencing any FGPMA anti-encroachment activity,” the bill stated. With the federal government’s authority, the FGPMA may cancel or re-plan any project and mortgage assets.
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