THE privatization plan for 2008-09 has been finalized. The new plan will be "well-planned, transparent and pro-worker." This was unveiled by the Minister for Information and Broadcasting, Sherry Rehman. Though it would be good if the Finance Minister, who also holds the portfolio for privatization, explains the policy in much greater detail. Nationalization was an idea all the rage in many parts of the world at a particular point in time. Our country was no exception. And so, a huge number of private enterprises were taken over by the state. There is always going to be resentment and allegations over the way these institutions were nationalized. Many would agree that it was a clunky, botched job. But much water has flowed under the bridge since then and the trends of socialism, at least its extreme brands, have fizzled out. The process of denationalization that has since been taken up by many Third World countries, was rife with corruption. Here again, our country was no exception. The problems, apart from the obvious kickbacks, scams and conflicts of interest, was how these concerns ere going to affect not just their workers, but also their consumers. If market forces are to instil efficiency in these institutions, they are also going to compel a measure of downsizing and profit maximization. Many privatized organizations laid off scores of employees with a single stroke of the pen; many raised the rates of the product or service they were providing. Giving the workers of the concern 10 percent of the shares, as Ms Rehman mentioned, is a good idea. Choosing what to privatize is also an issue. The idea, oft stated, is to take those state-owned institutions that are a burden on our exchequer, off our hands; if they become more efficient, the government will benefit from the shares it continues to hold. If that were indeed the case, why are only the good, healthy ones being sold off, their profitability being proudly displayed before foreign investors? They should be attractive because of their potential, not current, state.