The national flag carrier’s privatization is yet again under discussion at the Senate.
A Senate panel requested the government to suspend the plan to privatize PIA. Last week, Privatization Minister Daniyal Aziz had stressed that the national airline company is up for sale.
Adviser to Prime Minister on Aviation Mehtab Khan Abbasi had also recently stated:
Practically, I have no knowledge that any move is being made to privatize the national airline and do not see any process to privatize PIA as the process may take three to five years.
He said that the PML(N)-led government initiated the privatization transactions which cannot be completed until June 2018 – and the next government would have to take over the mess.
A couple of weeks ago, Aziz had said that the government will shape the core functioning areas of PIA in 3 months to attract the investing entities.
Over 150 billion rupees were aimed to be collected in legacy loans and non-core assets in outsourcing the core business to private investors.
Senator Mohsin Aziz, Chairman of the Standing Committee on Privatization, said:
The government may continue the process of separating the core functions, but PIA should not be privatized.
PPP and MQM senators backed the views of Senator Mohsin and Nehal Hashmi.
However, Daniyal Aziz remarked:
Under the Pakistan International Airlines Corporation (Conversion) Act 2016, which had been unanimously passed by parliament, I am legally bound to push forward the PIA privatization process.
Revival of PSM
The Privatization Minister said:
The government’s close to achieving a breakthrough in its negotiations with National Bank of Pakistan (NBP) and Sui Southern Gas Company (SSGC) on the repayment of loans and arrears by Pakistan Steel Mills (PSM).
He added that the NBP was ready to decrease its claim of 53 billion rupees. “The Privatization Commission would invite Expressions of Interest for giving the mill on a 30-year lease,” he maintained.
He said that liabilities worth Rs. 15 billion of over 3,500 PSM retiring employees will be cleared within 5 months.