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According to a Business Recorder news item, the PDM government has offered its stakes in five top State Owned Entities (SOEs) to two top companies of the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

The SOEs whose shares have been offered to key UAE entities, according to the report, are Oil and Gas Development Company Limited (OGDCL), Pakistan Petroleum Limited (PPL), National Bank of Pakistan (NBP), Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) and Pakistan National Shipping Corporation (PNSC).

This development clearly shows a high degree of pragmatism on the part of the incumbent government. Most of our SOEs, if not all, are bleeding for quite some time, adding to pressures on the national kitty in a big way. Should this offer ultimately translate into a deal, the country would certainly witness a reasonable amount of inward foreign exchange inflows.

The sell-off of the government stakes is likely to inject greater efficiency into these SOEs, so to speak. No doubt, the government’s detractors would accuse it of selling the family silver. But they must not lose sight of the fact that silver does rust if it is not properly maintained.

Abdul Samad (Karachi)

Copyright Business Recorder, 2023

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