ISLAMABAD - Federal Minister for Privatisation Senator Waqar Ahmad Khan Thursday said that it was not the appropriate time to privatise the precious national assets including Pakistan International Airlines (PIA), Pakistan Railways (PR), Pakistan Steel Mills (PSM) and some others. While speaking at a seminar on Contribution of Private Sector in Economic Growth of Pakistan, he said that the government had decided to restructure PIA, PR and PSM instead of privatising these assets for small discounts. Government is spending huge amount to run these institutions as currently Rs 40 billion has been spent on these institutions, while the overall government expenses are Rs160 billion, which suggest how much these are affecting the economy, he observed. He further said that the government was in the process of hiring people of tremendous integrity and credibility from the private sector as MD, COO and ED to run the State Owned Entities (SOEs) efficiently, making them profitable and enabling each entity to function independently and answerable to the respective Board of Directors. He was of the view that there was a vast scope for the local and foreign private sector to come forward and bridge the gap through their positive contribution. Speaking on the occasion, Zahid Maqbool, President ICCI said Government should give top priority to promoting private sector, which will help creating job opportunities, expanding economy, alleviating poverty and generating more tax revenue. He said the private sector had made great contribution to the growth of Pakistans economy, adding that the importance of that sector for the economy could be gauged from the fact that it was contributing more than 84 percent to the countrys GDP. He said it was the private sector which brought revolutionary changes in areas like telecommunication, banking and financial services, textile, pharmaceutical, manufacturing, mining and quarrying, construction, transport and communication and wholesale and retail trade. However, he pointed out that the private sector was currently facing many challenges including energy crisis, high interest rate and power tariffs, frequent load shedding, unstable law and order situation and poor physical infrastructure, etc, which were holding it back from growing up to the full potential. On the occasion, the other speakers also brought to limelight the performance of Information Technology and Automotive industry in the country. The representative of automotive sector informed that the industry had generated Rs 154 billion and employed 175000 workers and manufactured 264000 cars that year. He was of the view that the sector would further perform in the economic growth of the country in the coming years.