There are two main opinions about privatization of industry, among the people of Pakistan. For some it is the right thing to do, to help create new industries and create better competition and better prices for the consumers, but for many others privatization would be a wrong step as they believe that some industries are important for Pakistan and should not be trusted to private owners or foreigners, who might run the industry not according to our customs. I believe that these people have a very wrong view of privatization. Not privatizing the loss incurring industry, we are inadvertently forcing our children into debt.

Looking at the example of Pakistan Steel Mills (PSM), one will find that although the Musharraf led government had privatized the company in 2006, the local workers union went to the Sindh High court, which annulled the contract of privatization within three months. Since that time the company has not produced more than 17 percent of its capacity.

The company is grossly mismanaged, though PSM is operating at only 17 percent, the PSM has more than 2300 employees, the PSM staff gets salaries and special benefits, such as rent allowance while living in a company house. It is estimated that since 2006's Sindh High Court’ decision, the government of Pakistan has injected 150 billion rupees into PSM and the company has also accumulated a total debt of 550 billion rupees.

Ironically the company that had won the privatization bid of PSM, utilized their returned investments to construct a new steel mill called TSML, which is operating at above 80 percent production and supplies 20 percent of Pakistan's steel requirement. Therefore I believe that non-important industries, that are also loss-making, should be privatized. It is not the Governments job to do business; rather it is the government's job to nurture business. By being the gardener rather than the tree, the government would create new industries, set them up and privatize them, thus giving the people of Pakistan ready industries to expand and improve.


Peshawar, September