PSALM, Pagcor, NFA and UCPB could be affected
THE idea of privatizing the power as-sets of the Power Sector Assets and Liabilities Management Corp. (PSALM) and other government-owned or -controlled corporations is still under the consideration of the Duterte administration, according to Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez 3rd.
The privatization plan could also include the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. (Pagcor) and the National Food Authority (NFA) “Yes we will continue the privatization program. Particularly in PSALM,” he told reporters on the sidelines of the budget briefing the Development Budget Coordination Committee held at the House of Representatives on Monday.
The idea essentially is to separate the commercial from regulatory functions.
“We believe that government should only be in regulatory functions and not commercial functions; and, therefore, dispose off by sale or closing down the commercial functions,” he explained.
The original plan, Dominguez had said, was for PSALM to get rid of its assets after the first five years, which is now 10 years ago.
Under Republic Act 9136, or the Electric Power Industry Reform Act of 2001, PSALM is mandated to manage the privatization and maintenance of National Power Corp.’s (Napocor) power-generation assets, liabilities and contracted capacities.
Among the power assets that are yet to be privatized are the 850-megawatt (MW) Sucat Thermal Power Plant; the 200-MW Mindanao Coal-Fired Thermal Power; the 982-MW Agus-Pulangi hydropower complex; the 40-MW “security capacity” of the Unified Leyte Geothermal Power Plant (ULGPP) and the bulk capacity of the ULGPP itself.
There could now be a reassessment of the current value of PSALM’s assets.
About Pagcor, Dominguez said that the initial plan was to divide it in two separate agencies, one regulatory and the other for commercial functions. The same process, he said, could be applied to the National Food Authority (NFA), he said.
“That has been discussed and is still under discussion, Domingues said. But it’s not abolition of NFA he explained, clarifying the earlier statement of Cabinet Secretary Leoncio Evasco Jr. that he would suggest abolishing it to President Rodrigo Duterte. “It is separating the commercial from regulatory functions,” he added.
Reports have quoted Evasco that the NFA may by made pure regulatory body without interfering in competition in the rice business. The agency has incurred a debt amounting to P167 billion.
The DOF earlier said it plans to unload more properties for privatization including the United Coconut Planters Bank.