By Sadiq Saleem
The cabinet of PTI government is divided over the privatization of public sector firms which have been suffering a cumulative loss of Rs300 billion per annum due to inefficiencies and bad governance.
In a recent gathering of the cabinet, some cabinet members raised an issue over the planned privatization of profitable state-run firms whereas some of them argued that it is not the government’s mandate to run commercial organizations.
They also raised an issue that non-operational companies are being excluded from the privatization list. The cabinet members have been in complete agreement in their view that no tender had been floated to privatize govt hospitals.
They indicated that the government had thought to give larger independence and autonomy to hospital management in an strive to improve service delivery.
As per sources, during a meeting led by PM Imran Khan, It was informed that a meeting of the Cabinet Committee on Privatisation was previously held on September 18, 2019, which authorized the privatization of some state units. The committee encouraged those cases for approbation by the cabinet.
It suggested that Telephone Industries of Pakistan should be excluded from the privatization program. The organizations recommended for privatization consisting National Power Parks Management Company Limited, Islamabad Electric Supply Company, and State Life Insurance Corporation.
While discussing, the cabinet members raised an issue over what happened to previously privatized Organizations and whether or not any evaluation had been carried out and lessons learned.
Questions have been raised over the argument of privatizing profitable entities and giving precedence to different enterprises on the privatization list. Some individuals pointed out that it was not the government’s job to run commercial firms.
Another view was that while there had been no hesitation about the idea of privatization, the rules were not clear. Profitable entities like State Life were being listed for privatization while at the same time, non-operational Telephone Industries of Pakistan was being excluded from the list.
Some cabinet members mentioned that keeping organizations for privatization for a long time badly affects the worker’s self-esteem and the company’s performance.
It was disclosed that public sector organizations have been suffering losses of more than Rs. 300 billion per annum, which is not sustainable now.
No major privatization transaction had taken place since long time. It was also mentioned that those banking institutions, which had a zero rate of return under government ownership, had their returns increased multifold after privatization.
Sadiq Saleem is a Web Developer, Blogger and Digital Marketing Expert with a passion to write for Technology, Business, Career, and Education