Cash-strapped PIA privatisation to be ‘completed in June’: finance minister

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Finance Minister Muhammad Aurangzeb on Thursday said that the government wants to complete the privatisation process of cash-strapped Pakistan International Airline (PIA) in June, ARY News reported.

Federal Minister for Privatisa­tion and Board of Investment Abdul Aleem Khan is working on the privatisation of the national flag carrier, he said during his appearance on ARY News show KHABAR with Meher Bukhari.

The finance minister expressed hope that the government will soon begin to receive bids for the PIA.

Read more: PIA privatisation moving in right direction, says Muhammad Aurangzeb

On reducing operational expenditure, Aurangzeb informed that the federal government will soon announce a decision regarding ministries devolved into provinces.

“The prime minister himself is leading it. I think in weeks, you will hear not only discussion but decision by the prime minister on this side,” he added.

He also called for public-private partnership in the Public Sector Development Programme (PSDP).

The finance czar said that the government should not solely fund the PSDP project, rather it should incentivise the private sector.

Aurangzeb said that Pakistan will have to “balance out” the National Finance Commission (NFC) Award formula for an increase in the federal government’s income.

“I think we will have to balance it [NFC Award formula] out at some point of time. This is a discussion we have to look at from an enterprise perspective. Whatever the federal government would do, it will do by consulting with the provinces” he added.

It is pertinent to mention that the government had earlier rejected the International Monetary Fund s (IMF) demand for the NFC Award revisit during the second review talks under the $3 billion loan programme under SBA.

Read more: Sindh asks federal govt to announce new NFC award: Murad

Speaking about Pakistan’s deal with the IMF, he said that the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government left the IMF programme which created serious risks to the country’s repayment capacity.

The government’s duty is to make policies and work is underway in this regard, he said, adding that the statements of not letting the government work will not cause the centre to lose its concentration on resolving the economic issues.

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