Cabinet Division trying to save PPC from sell-off list

Attention: open in a new window. PDFPrintE-mail
ISLAMABAD : The Cabinet Division is making all-out efforts to de-list Pakistan Printing Corporation (PPC) from the privatisation list and is considering laying off 320 employees with VSS, official sources told Business Recorder. PCP was established in January 1969 by amalgamating Government Printing Presses located at Islamabad, Lahore, Karachi and Dacca. No working capital was provided to PCP, and it was to be a self-financing corporation, catering to the printing needs of a large number of government organisations. Printing handled by PCP includes annual budget books, ballot papers and other election material for the general and local elections, printing of summaries for the Cabinet and other secret documents, official gazette notifications, inclusive of Acts and Ordinance etc, SROs, and provision of round-the-clock printing services to both houses of Parliament. Sources said that the corporation relies solely on government work to survive. Previously, government organisations assigned the bulk of their printing work to the PCP and work could only be contracted to private printers after obtaining NoC from the PCP. However, with the introduction of the new system of financial control and budgeting in 2000-01, the PCP has suffered losses due to reduction of public sector printing orders. Moreover, increase in salaries, cost of materials, fuel, electricity and other inputs badly affected the financial position of PCP. It is relying on government loans even for payment of salaries to its employees. Its accumulated loss had reached Rs 1374. 602 million as of 30th June, 2009. Cabinet Division is of the view that due to acute shortage of printing work, heavy expenditure and overstaffing in PCP, there is an immediate need to restructure the PCP by reducing its work force to improve its productivity. Average yearly sales of last decade (ie 1999-2000 to 2008-2009) were Rs 227. 1614 million whereas the average yearly expenditure for the said period was Rs 312. 7479 million. Sales and expenditure during the last year 2009-10 were, however, Rs 147. 628 million and Rs 399. 006 million (provisional), respectively. The monthly expenditure on account of salary alone is presently Rs 21. 030 million (based on July 2010) and as such the organisation is not financially sustainable with its present staff and structure. PCP s deficits are being met through interest-free loans from the federal governments. The Cabinet Committee on Privatisation (CCoP) in its meeting held on October 20, 2004 decided to privatise the PCP as a whole following which the Privatisation Commission included PCP in the privatisation programme. However, PCP could not be disinvested due to its negative worth and encumbered nature of its properties. The only property with clean title is that of the Lahore Press measuring 15 kanals and 14 marlas valued at Rs 232. 33 million by the valuators appointed by the Privatisation Commission. However, keeping in view the commercial nature of locality, it is estimated that the value of the land of Lahore Press may be worth much more. Sources said that these issues were also discussed in the 65th meeting of the Board of Directors of the PCP held on December 28, 2006. The Board decided that the land of PCP at Lahore may be sold by the Privatisation Commission on urgent basis and the proceeds be utilised to lay off 550 redundant employees. A summary for restructuring of PCP and sale of the land at Lahore was approved by the Prime Minister in October 2007 with following conditions proposed by the Finance Division: (i) The entire amount of sale proceeds will be deposited in the Federal Treasury; (ii) the loan advanced by GoP to PCP will be recovered out of the sale proceeds of its property, and (iii) PCP will prepare a scheme to lay off 50 percent of their employees and Finance Division will release the requisite balance amount after adjustment of loans through a supplementary grant. However, it was felt that if PCP s government loans are first adjusted, the corporation may not be left with enough money to finance any Voluntary Separation Scheme (VSS). Therefore, a summary was re-submitted to the Prime Minister by the Cabinet Division in February 2009 that sale proceeds of land in Urdu Bazaar, Lahore may be allowed to be first used for VSS of employees. The GoP loan may be adjusted from the balance amount of this transaction and from privatisation of further assets of PCP. Approval of the Prime Minister is awaited. The Board of Directors of PCP in its 71st meeting held on August 5, 2010 discussed the affairs of PCP and observed that most important and sensitive jobs are undertaken by PCP which cannot be carried out appropriately by the private sector. In addition, the safety and security of ballot papers for general elections, maintaining secrecy of the Annual Budget documents, overnight printing of the urgent Parliament business, secrecy of summaries for the cabinet and other security documents of the government cannot be assured through an alternative printing source. In case of closure of PCP, each ministry/organisation may opt to establish their individual printing facility, which may prove more expensive. Cabinet Division is also of the view that the present staff strength of PCP is 870, out of which 550 employees for Islamabad and Karachi Presses including head office will be sufficient to meet the future requirements. Presently, the printing budget of federal government is more than one billion rupees per annum and Pakistan Post Office also spends approximately one billion rupees on their printing need. After restructuring, with reduced staff and addition of new machinery, PCP can become viable if it is given work of Rs 500 million per annum. In order to implement the above revival plan of PCP, Cabinet Division has sought Rs 1. 2 billion for laying off 320 employees with VSS, liability of C P Fund Trust, liability of EOBI and purchase of 4 new machines. Sources said the issue has been placed before the higher forum for its early resolution.

Courtesy : Business Recorder

Forex open Market rates & comments Archive

Login Form