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September 13, 2013

PM gives go-ahead to privatise PIA

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September 13, 2013

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Thursday gave go-ahead to privatise the Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) in “an open and transparent manner to make it competitive and service-oriented”. According to the plan, 26 percent shares of the national flag carrier will be sold.

The prime minister directed the Ministry of Privatisation and Civil Aviation Division to initiate the process of privatisation, ensuring complete transparency, adherence to all relevant formalities and guidelines of the superior courts.
This would not only help provide the people with quality service, but also improve the overall image of the national flag carrier locally and internationally, said an official press release.
The prime minister gave these directions while chairing a meeting on PIA at the Prime Minister’s Office. Nawaz said the government was fully committed to reforming and restructuring all ailing state enterprises.
He also directed the PIA management to focus on their operational efficiency, cut down their wasteful expenses and promote qualified professionals to compete modern day environment in the air transport industry.
Earlier, while reviewing the performance of PIA, the PM expressed his deep concern over the mismanagement in its affairs and was saddened to observe that the airline had not come up to the expectations of the people.
The premier was also briefed about the problems and issues confronting the PIA, such as its declining service standards, lack of reliability and punctuality, pilferages, lack of quality manpower, training and job rotation, ageing fleet, over-staffing and high loans resulting in heavy financial cost.
He directed the PIA management to cut down its losses in the short term, in order to make it a viable entity for privatisation. The prime minister also directed that all the policy decisions to revitalise the public sector organisations would be made by its board of governors.
The premier directed to ensure

full transparency in the decision-making process to protect public interests.The meeting was attended by Finance Minister Ishaq Dar, Information Minister Pervez Rashid, Petroleum Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi and other senior officials. –
Our correspondent adds: Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif said that promises made during the election campaign with the youth and low-income groups of the society would be fulfilled and directed officials to initiate programmes and schemes targeting the lower strata of the society and youth, especially the educated, at the earliest.
The PM gave these directions while chairing a meeting at the PM’s Office. The meeting was told that both the Prime Minister’s MicroFinance Scheme and Prime Minister’s Scheme for Small Business Loans would be directed towards the poor sections of the society.
It is through these schemes that small loans will be given to the poor for business and this they would have to repay in a period of five to seven years. The meeting was told that almost 100,000 people would benefit from this scheme.
Under the Youth Training Programme, qualified youth, both from the public and private sector universities and colleges, will be selected for internships. The prime minister emphasised on the inclusion of qualified youth from Fata and Balochistan in this programme.
Under the Youth Skills Development Programme, skills will be imparted to the youth, which would help them in obtaining better jobs. Besides, the PM directed to initiate the PM’s laptop scheme at the federal level. He also directed that a scheme for poor students by the name of Prime Minister’s Scheme for Reimbursement of Fee for Less-Privileged be initiated so that no one remained without education because of financial reasons.
He directed to initiate low-cost housing programme for the poor. He directed that in order to ensure transparency, merit and fair play, independent experts and relevant professionals be included in the committees tasked to execute these schemes.