Loss-making SOEs


MINISTER for Finance and Revenue Miftah Ismail, on Wednesday, underscored the need of accelerating the process of privatization of loss-making state-owned enterprises (SOEs).

Chairing a meeting on privatization process, he assured full support in resolving all pending issues that are impeding privatization of loss making entities.

The directions and remarks of the Minister serve as positive indication that the new Government is clear-headed as far as the process of privatization is concerned i.e. to focus on loss-making entities rather than doling out profit-earning institutions to blue-eyed people as we witnessed in the past.

We have been emphasizing repeatedly in these columns that the privatization programme originally envisaged sale of loss-making institutions so that they are transformed into profitable and productive entities with the cooperation of the private sector.

Privatization of loss making institutions is understandable as it lessens burden on the national exchequer and the money thus saved can be diverted for welfare of the people but regrettably the successive governments in the past doled out highly profitable institutions and that too at throw away prices to favourite parties.

To justify this loot sale, people were told that the proceeds of the privatization would be spent to retire costly debt but nothing of the sort happened and instead family silver was sold to bridge budget deficit, which was nothing but a short-sighted approach.

The PTI Government deserves credit for not showing undue haste in selling of SOEs, which is evident from the fact that only two privatization transactions could be completed during its entire tenure.

The present government is under immense financial pressure but long-term interests of the country demand the privatization policy should be thoroughly reviewed with entire focus on reforming and privatizing only loss incurring entities.


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