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Opposition to privatisation.

Byline: Senator Taj Haider - Islamabad

APROPOS your editorial 'Opposition to privatisation' (March 6). As Chairperson of the Senate Standing Committee on Delegated Legislation (SSCDL), I was shocked to find out at the last SSCDL meeting that the privatisation of public sector units had been going on without a legal Privatisation Commission that is provided for in the Privatisation Commission Ordinance 2000. One single person was taking decisions on matters like 'valuation of assets' and 'appointment of financial advisers'.

The Senate Standing Committee on Industries and Production. of which I am also a member, paid two visits to Pakistan Steel Mills and discussed the closure of PSM at several meetings. It came to the conclusion that the decision taken by the Economic Coordination Committee on the rehabilitation of PSM had been grossly violated and gas supplies to PSM had been cut off right on the day when its production had reached the break-even mark.

This committee had been taking up the issue of payment of salaries due to PSM employees. At its last meeting I had proposed that iron billets of a quantity enough to produce coils worth Rs5 billion were lying in the PSM and these coils could be produced if gas supplies to only that particular section were restored. The ministry did not agree to the proposal.

A similar step-motherly treatment has been meted out to PIA on which a special committee of the Senate was constituted. The report of the committee is worth reading. All these reports are available on the Senate website.

It would be worthwhile if Dawn and other media undertook an independent inquiry not only into these two cases, but also into the entire privatisation programme.

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Publication:Dawn (Karachi, Pakistan)
Date:Mar 18, 2018
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