PEW expresses reservations over rapid privatization process

LAHORE: The Pakistan Economy Watch PEW on Sunday expressed concern over rapid privatization process initiated on the dictates of International Monetary Fund IMF. It said that hasty sale of national assets to finance budget deficits without a detailed strategy may be prove harmful to the economy.

There is no justification in selling state owned companies that are making profit, said Dr. Murtaza Mughal, President PEW. He said that majority of the earlier privatization initiatives failed as most of the buyers were interested in the properties of the organisations sold to them. The sale of PTCL worked because it was in profit at the time of privatization process, he observed.

Therefore, property dealers and developers should not be allowed to take part in the bidding process, said Dr. Murtaza Mughal. Similarly, he said, local investors should be given preference over foreigners who would earn profit in local currency but transfer it abroad in dollars paving way for serious problems.

Those who bought national assets on throwaway prices in the earlier privatization should be discouraged to avoid allegations of favouritism which the government can ill afford, he said. He said that turning around some units that are highly indebted and underperforming to even pay its workforce on time before sale would have been a better option, said Dr. Mughal.

Those opposing sale of assets say that Government is too focused on short-term interests and prioritizes the benefits of a few over the general population as millions will face loss of job or income.