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This is apropos a Business Recorder op-ed “Budgetary impact of SOEs” carried by the newspaper on Tuesday. The writer, Dr Hafiz A Pasha, has argued, among other things, that “The report by the MoF [Ministry of Finance] represents only a partial solution of the problem through the process of privatisation. 10 SOEs are reported to be already under the process of privatization. 24 SOEs are to be privatised in the next phase while there are 10 other SOEs which are potential candidates according to the report. Therefore, there are as many as 41 SOEs which will be retained.”

His analysis brings to mind the headline of another Business Recorder op-ed “Privatisation of Discos: A dream that will never come true” carried by the newspaper the following day. Retaining as many SOEs as possible is a compulsion that stems from political rather than economic considerations. PIA and Railways, for example, have been used as employment bureaus by successive governments.

Nihal Siddiqui (Islamabad)

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021