The solution to the abysmal performance of our national flag career Pakistan International Airline (PIA), according to the government, is privatisation. Privatisation may be an option to lessen the burden that PIA puts on the national exchequer for running its affairs but not the only one. However, the government seems to finish the task before completing its term. It is the haste to privatise the enterprise that two related people, Federal Privatisation Minister Daniyal Aziz and Adviser to the Prime Minister on Aviation Sardar Mehtab Abbasi, were ill-prepared while they were standing in front of Senate Standing Committee on Privatisation and Statistics.

The government should act upon the advice of the standing committee that warns the government that if privatization is carried in these last few remaining months, the next government will face difficulties while implementing the terms of the process.

Is privatisation the only option available to the government? No, it’s not. Privatisation will save the state from taking hard but necessary steps to be implemented if the government intends to improve its management. Unfortunately, even today when the national airline is unable to sustain itself, it has one of the highest numbers of employees per plane, i.e., more than 700 crew for every carrier.

Privatisation is a perfect veil to hide the rampant corruption that takes place in the organisation. The process will serve the purpose of past and closed transaction when the need is to hold the responsible ones accountable for incurring losses to national flag carrier.

If privatisation is not the right choice to make at the moment, what else the government can do? Well! The success or failure of private businesses, as well as State Operating Enterprises (SOE), is based on virtually the same factors. Among the success factors, good corporate governance plays a vital role. Recognition of this has led to widespread adoption of good governance principles globally among both public and private sector enterprises.

Moreover, it is worth recalling here that according to an act of 2016, PIAC Conversion Act, 2016, bars the government to transfer the ownership of the entity. Maybe Minister for Privatisation is not aware of the particular section of the Act. Instead of making it an ego issue, it is better to think and deliberate on all available options to the government. The privatization of the national airline is a massive undertaking. Furthermore, the Minister and Advisor concerned with the task are also contradicting each other on how the process will be carried out. Let the privatisation of PIA not become another story of government’s incompetence.