ISLAMABAD: The government is spending Rs600 billion annually to keep public sector enterprises (PSEs) running, and is making sincere efforts for privatising loss-making entities, Privatisation Commission Chairman Muhammad Zubair said on Tuesday.
Addressing the business community at the Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Mr Zubair explained the privatisation programme in detail.
He said divestment of public sector enterprises was a big challenge due to various reasons including complicated privatisation process and opposition by political parties.
Mr Zubair said political parties, media and other stakeholders should support the privatisation of loss-making PSEs. “It is in the national interest to privatise them instead of reforming them which is a long-term process,” he added.
A strong Privatisation Commission, with independent decision making powers, is needed to implement government’s programme, he acknowledged.
The commission’s chairman said PSEs were established to provide quality services to the public but they have failed to deliver and were draining the national exchequer.
The privatisation process is quite lengthy as minimum two years are required to sell off a PSE, he explained.
Mr Zubair said the government has to take some unpopular and tough decisions to put the country on the path of better economic growth, and stressed that private sector should come up with some good proposals on privatisation.
In his welcome address, ICCI President Atif Ikram Sheikh said instead of providing billions of rupees to loss-making PSEs including Pakistan Steel Mills, Pakistan International Airlines and Pakistan Railways, the government should prefer to spend this amount on development projects and public welfare works.
There was no justification to spend taxpayers’ money on keeping loss-making entities afloat, he added.