ISLAMABAD - The government on Wednesday reiterated to restart privatisation of Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) and Pakistan Steel Mills (PSM), as accumulated debt and losses of these two entities had swelled to the unprecedented level despite extending bailout packages.

Federal Minister for Privatisation Daniyal Aziz said that government would resume the privatisation of loss-making public sector entities (PSEs) including PIA and PSM. He further said that accumulated debt and losses of Pakistan Steel Mills had swelled to Rs276 billion by the end of June 2017. He said the government has extended bailout packages to PSM amounting to Rs 76 billion.

The minister made these remarks in meeting of National Assembly’s standing committee on privatisation, which was held under the chairmanship of Syed Imran Ahmed Shah, MNA. He further said that the government could save Rs 600 billion annually by privatising the loss-making state owned entities (SOEs).

Director General of Privatization Commission informed the committee that total borrowings and accumulated losses of PIA enhanced to Rs 186.5 billion and Rs 316 billion as of December 31, 2016 respectively. 

The Cabinet Committee on Privatization had approved to privatize 70 public sector entities out of which 42 entities are included in the privatization programme for early implementation. During current government's tenure, privatization process of 26 entities was initiated out of which five transactions including that of Habib Bank Limited (HBL), United Bank Limited (UBL), Allied Bank Limited (ABL), Pakistan Petroleum Limited and National Power Construction Company have been completed.

The director general Privatization Commission also briefed the committee about the previous and under process projects of the ministry. The Committee appreciated the given briefing. Further, the Committee recommended that the ministry shall respond to the questions asked by the members in next meeting.