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According to a Business Recorder news item “Govt decides to outsource topmost airports”, carried by the newspaper on Saturday. According to which, prime minister Shehbaz Sharif has directed the Aviation Ministry to start the process of outsourcing of the country’s three major airports, Jinnah International Karachi, Islamabad International and Allama Iqbal International Airport Lahore under public-private partnership.

The government deserves praise for taking this seemingly bold decision in view of the precarious state of economy that is strongly characterised by, among other things, rising fiscal deficit and moth-eaten foreign exchange reserves. In India, for example, airports are being leased to private parties. The number of such airports is 25 and all of them have been earmarked for leasing out from the year 2022 to 2025.

The India’s government believes that its decision serves the public interest, arguing that the revenue from the leased airports would be used for airport infrastructure development across the country. The PDM (Pakistan Democratic Movement) government needs to examine India’s aviation business model before formally handing over country’s three major airports to private parties.

Outsourcing public-sector assets is a must mainly in view of woeful state of economy, although successive governments, including the incumbent Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz) PML(N)-led coalition government, can be held responsible for harming country’s fiscal metric through ever-rising current expenditure.

Arsalan Khan (Islamabad)

Copyright Business Recorder, 2023

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