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Privatization of PSEs a big challenge in Pakistan-Muhammad Zubair April 19, 2016
Meeting at ICCI
 
Muhammad Zubair, Minister of State for Privatization and Chairman Privatization Commission of Pakistan said that the government was making sincere efforts for privatizing loss making Public Sector Enterprises (PSEs) as it was spending around Rs.600 billion annually to keep them running, but their privatization was a big challenge due to complicated privatization process, opposition of political parties and many other factors. He said political parties, media and other stakeholders should support the privatization of lossmaking PSEs as it was in the national interest to privatize them instead of reforming them which was a long-term process. He said a strong Privatization Commission with independent decision making powers was needed to implement government’s privatization program. He expressed these views while addressing business community at Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry. He said currently 69 PSEs were on the privatization list.
 
He said PSEs were established to provide good quality services to the public, but they have failed to deliver and had become a drain on the national exchequer, so it was necessary to privatize them. He said the privatization process was quite lengthy as minimum two years were required to privatize a PSE. He said government has to take some unpopular and tough decisions to put the country on the path of better economic growth. He stressed that private sector should come up with some good proposals on privatization and assured that he would try to implement their proposals that would be in the best national interest.
 
In his welcome address, Atif Ikram Sheikh, President, Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry said that lossmaking public sector organizations including Pakistan Steel Mills, Pakistan International Airlines and Railways etc. were a big burden on the national exchequer as the government was paying billions of rupees every year to bailout them. He said instead of providing billions of rupees to lossmaking PSEs, government should prefer to spend this amount on development projects and public welfare works as there was no justification to spend taxpayers’ money on keeping lossmaking entities afloat. He said such organizations may be privatized so that they could be transformed into profit earning entities and could play a positive role in the economic development of the country as well. 
 
He stressed that government in consultation with business leaders should devise a new privatization strategy and introduce best business practices in lossmaking entities. He said government could induct successful and experienced professionals from the private sector in the management of PSEs to turn them into revenue generating entities. Sheikh Pervez Ahmed Senior Vice President ICCI, Sheikh Tariq Sadiq, Khalid Javed, Mian Akram Farid, Zahid Maqbool and others also spoke at the occasion and stressed for privatization of lossmaking PSEs.