Pakistan has transferred its entire shareholding in seven companies to a $8 billion new sovereign wealth fund with the aim of offering the stakes to foreign investors and spurring growth.
The government may conduct different transactions including sale of stakes or make investments through the fund, according to the bill approved by South Asian nation's Senate — Parliament's upper house — on Wednesday and available on its website. The National Assembly — Parliament's lower house — has already approved the bill.
The companies in Pakistan Sovereign Wealth Fund are Oil & Gas Development Co., Pakistan Petroleum, National Bank of Pakistan, Mari Petroleum Co., Government Holdings, Pakistan Development Fund and Neelum-Jhelum Hydro-Power.
The fund paves way for Pakistan attracting investment from friendly countries including the UAE, which last year announced to invest $1 billion in Pakistani companies spanning various sectors. The bill was initiated by Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif's government, which is a week away from handing over power to a caretaker administration to hold national elections by November.
The South Asian nation averted a default by signing a $3 billion Stand-By Arrangement with the International Monetary Fund last month.