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November 21, 2020

7,000 PIA employees to be relieved: Dr Ishrat Hussain

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November 21, 2020

ISLAMABAD: Adviser to the Prime Minister on Institutional Reforms and Austerity Dr Ishrat Hussain on Friday said the number of Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) employees will be brought down from 14,000 to 7,000.

He was holding a joint press conference alongside the Minister for Information Shibli Faraz to discuss the current situation of state institutions and areas where the government is planning to carry out restructuring, Geo News reported.

"We have also decided to restructure the PIA. The company has been facing a lot of losses and an increase in debts, which is why we want to turn it into a profitable institution," Dr Ishrat Hussain maintained.

He said it is easy to weaken and destroy state institutions but it takes a lot of time and effort to strengthen them. Prime Minister Imran Khan has recently ordered the establishment of a committee to restructure the institutions and suggest reforms. The committee will be headed by Dr Ishrat Hussain.

Sharing the government's plan, Dr Ishrat Hussain said that Imran Khan has directed him to appoint institutional heads in a transparent and procedural manner. "We have set up specific procedures and have appointed a committee to select the heads of the organisations," he told journalists. "Earlier, the head of these institutions were appointed on the basis of vested interests, but the PM has abolished this trend and has decided to prioritise merit over everything else."

He said that making merit a priority is not an easy task as bringing about this type of change is a time-consuming process. Speaking about the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR), Dr Ishrat Hussain said that making the FBR stronger through improved tax collection will be immensely beneficial for the country.

"The government has decided to run the tax system under a fully-automated system. Out of 2.5 million taxpayers, one million people neither declare their sources of income nor pay their taxes," he said.

Adding to the conversation, Shibli Faraz maintained that at present, the government is funding all existing institutions in the country, saying that restructuring might make the government unpopular, but the steps are being taken to improve these institutions.