How sell-off of PSM can be forestalled
Muhammad Zubair, minister of state for privatisation, said privatisation of Pakistan Steel Mills (PSM) can only be averted if PSM turns into profitable organisation. He was speaking at an interactive session on “Privatisation Policy and Priorities” organised by Pakistan- Korea Business and Friendship Council along with seven other business councils at a hotel here on Saturday.
He said that around 2500 employees in PSM were middle and inter pass and urged the participants to come forward and turn PSM around, if they want to stop its privatisation. He said that privatisation policy was aimed at avoiding heavy spending in public enterprises, adding that government was paying around Rs 500 billion per annum to run loss earning public organisations.
Zubair further said that if this amount was poured in health, education and other sectors, it would create a difference and added that people of Pakistan, who were entitled to get better services, were being burdened because of these loss earning public entities. He said that Nawaz government was committed to its privatisation policy and they had no IMF pressure in this regard. He said: “IMF has set milestones for its programme and government is striving to achieve it but it doesn”t mean that we are taking dictations from IMF”.
In his welcome address, Ahsan Mukhtar Zubairi, chairman Pakistan Korea- Business and Friendship Council said that state owned enterprises (SOEs) were inefficient and generally slow in responding to public demands. On the other hand, private sector is driven by profit motive and it becomes ruthless in the pursuit of personal gain and profit. A proper balance needs to be struck between public interest and profit, he urged.
He said that Pakistan had experimented with privatisation during the last three decades. Over a 100 state owned enterprises have been sold to the private sector during the last 30 years. Many of these do not exist any more. Mostly expensive real estates have been sold at exorbitant profits and the state and the public have been deprived. Many SOEs have been sold at throw away prices. The case of HBL, UBL, ABL and PTCL can not be forgotten. The Privatisation Commission (PC) had followed all procedures well but government was deprived of its valuable assets, he said. Some privatisation”s have also gone well such as MCB and only a few others.
Source: Business Recorder