Cabinet divided over privatisation programme; govt still shuffling the pack

ISLAMABAD: The cabinet has been divided over the privatisation of public sector enterprises which have been incurring a cumulative loss of Rs300 billion per annum due to inefficiencies and bad governance.

A report published in The Express Tribune claims that in a meeting of the cabinet, some cabinet members raised concern over the planned privatisation of profitable state-run companies whereas some of them argued that it was not the government’s business to run commercial organisations.

Cabinet members also voiced their concern over non-operational companies that were being removed from the privatisation list.

However, the cabinet members were unanimous in their view that no proposal had been floated to privatise government hospitals. They pointed out that the government had planned to give greater independence and autonomy to hospital management in an attempt to improve service delivery.

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Sources mentioned in the report said that during a meeting, chaired by Prime Minister Imran Khan, it was informed that a meeting of the Cabinet Committee on Privatisation was held on September 18, 2019, which approved the privatisation of some state units. The committee recommended those cases for ratification by the cabinet.

It recommended that Telephone Industries of Pakistan should be removed from the privatisation programme. The companies recommended for privatisation included National Power Parks Management Company Limited, Islamabad Electric Supply Company and State Life Insurance Corporation, claimed the report.

Some cabinet members were also of the view that continued the listing of an enterprise for privatisation for a long time had badly affected employee morale and the company’s performance.

It was revealed that public sector entities were incurring losses of more than Rs300 billion per annum, which were not sustainable. No major privatisation transaction had taken place over a long time.

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