Home Latest News PPP Opposes PIA, Steel Mills Privatization

PPP Opposes PIA, Steel Mills Privatization

Party chairman says government should opt for public-private partnerships to revive loss-making state assets

by Staff Report

Photo courtesy PPP Media Cell

The Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) on Wednesday voiced opposition to the incumbent government’s plans to privatize loss-making state-owned entities, including the Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) and the Pakistan Steel Mills (PSM).

“We believe that if you [federal government] are thinking about the privatization of PIA, Steels Mills or other institutions, you should go for public-private partnership instead going for an outright privatization,” PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari told a gathering International Labor Day in Karachi. Claiming the Sindh government had launched several successful projects under public-private partnerships, he said the center should follow the same model.

“We would definitely take it up with the federal government and try to convince the finance minister for the option of public-private partnership instead of privatization,” he said. “That would restore the institutions, and through that way, we would be able to contribute to our economy positively,” he claimed.

The interim government ramped up efforts to privatize PIA, with Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif also stressing on ridding the national exchequer of loss-making SOEs to achieve economic stability. The privatization of PIA and other ailing state assets is also a demand of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), which the country has approached for an extended facility as part of efforts to reform the national economy.

However, while the privatization is considered essential by economists, the process has drawn criticism over its potential impact on employees.

During his address, Bhutto-Zardari said the sale of the PSM should similarly be delayed until the federal government secured the consent of the Sindh government for the same. “We believe that if the federal government doesn’t want to operate Steel Mills anymore, the Sindh government would be willing to acquire it,” he claimed. “And we are confident we can revive it by running it under the same public-private partnership,” he said.

The former foreign minister also hoped the Sindh and Balochistan governments would increase salaries of workers in the upcoming budgets, adding the PPP would make similar demands from the federal government.

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