World Bulletin / News Desk
A cash-starved Pakistan has decided to offer its three major corporations, including the national flag carrier, Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) for privatization in an effort to ease the mounting pressure on the country’s already tottering economy. A decision to this effect was taken at a meeting of the National Privatization Commission on Wednesday chaired by Zubair Ahmed.
Two other corporations to be offered for the privatization are the National Electrical Company, and the National Power Construction Company. Some 26 percent shares of the national airlines PIA will be offered for privatization while at least 50 percent share of the two other corporations will be privatized. No timeframe, however, has been given for initiation of the proposed privatization process.
The PIA, once one of best airlines in the region, has been reeling from financial and management constraints in the past 15 years due to political involvement and over-staffing which left the company on the verge of collapse.
The privatization commission already plans to privatize 5 percent shares of Pakistan Petroleum Limited, 10 percent shares of the Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority, 10 percent shares of United Bank Limited, 10 percent shares of Allied Bank Limited, and 20 percent shares of Habib Bank Limited.
Pakistan expects to obtain a lump sum amount of Rs 150 billion ($15 million) by privatizing the shares of the respective corporations.
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, who is serving for the third term in the wake of the May 2013 general elections, has promised that he would initiate a policy of liberalization, and privatization with a view to boosting the country’s dismal economy in accordance with his election manifesto.
Sharif, a businessman himself, is considered the pioneer of privatization policy in Pakistan as during his first term in office in 1990 to 1992 he initiated the privatization of state-owned units.
Labor unions, however, oppose Sharif’s privatization policy and argue that the “businessman prime minister” will distribute national assets among his favorites and cull thousands of laborers from state-owned units in the name of privatization.
Pakistan, the only nuclear Muslim state, and a close ally of the United States, has conceded losses of $100 billion over the last decade in a so-called war on terror. In return, according to official statistics, it has received a combined aid of $15 billion dollars through a coalition support fund.Last Mod: 08 Ocak 2014, 17:33