Minister for Privatisation Daniyal Aziz on Wednesday said the government could save Rs600 billion annually by privatising the loss-making state-owned entities (SOEs), including Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) and Pakistan Steel Mills (PSM).
The minister said this while briefing the National Assembly’s Standing Committee on Privatisation that the annual losses incurred by the ailing public sector enterprises have swelled to an unprecedented level.
This has increased the importance of restructuring and private sector participation in order to ease pressure on the national exchequer, he said.
The minister said the government has extended bailout packages to the PSM amounting to Rs76bn; however, total debt and accumulated losses of PSM still stood at Rs99.4bn and Rs 176.6bn as of June 30, 2017, respectively.
Subsequently, the director general of Privatisation Commission appraised the committee that the government has provided guarantees amounting to Rs161.5bn on behalf of PIA as of June 30, 2017, whereas total borrowings and accumulated losses of PIA amounted to Rs186.5bn and Rs316bn as of December 31, 2016.
Currently, a total of 70 SOEs are on active privatisation list which has already been approved by the Cabinet Committee on Privatisation. Out of the total 70, 42 entities had been included in the privatization programme for early implementation.
He said the government was not entitled to indulge in trade and business activities, therefore, it is bent upon privatising its entities in the larger interest of the country and its people.
He said that with the introduction of the new Act, the privatization process has now been made more transparent.
The meeting was also informed that during the incumbent government’s tenure privatisation process of 26 entities was initiated out of which five transactions including that of United Bank Limited, Pakistan Petroleum Limited, Allied Bank Limited, Habib Bank Limited, and National Power Construction Company have been completed.
The meeting was presided over by MNA Imran Ahmad Shah and was attended by Sardar Ashiq Hussain Gopang, Justice (retd) Iftikhar Ahmed Cheema, Choudhary Iftikhar Nazir, Lt Col. (retd) Ghulam Rasul Sahi, Munaza Hassan, Imran Khattak, Abdul Waseem, Engineer Mohammad Usman Badini and Maiza Hameed.