KARACHI: The caretaker federal government and ministry of privatization have decided to leave the matter of Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) privatization on newly elected government to be set up after February 8, 2024.
The source claimed that Finance Ministry and Ministry of privatization have sent their separate reports to the caretaker Prime Minister, but in this connection there was no reply.
The caretaker government has to finalize PIA’s privatization plan till the end of January 2024. However, there is a clear direction from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to sell-off loss making government’s entities including PIA.
The interim government plans to split PIA into two entities and is eager to sell core assets by the end of February – weeks after the end of the caretaker government’s term on February 8.
Efforts are underway to prepare the entity for bidding so that when the new government comes to power, it may go ahead with plans to sell a majority stake.
In this connection, the Caretaker Privatization Minister Fawad Hassan Fawad had said all the legal formalities have been completed for the privatization of the national airlines.
The Privatization Commission (PC) board, few days back, hired Ernst & Young-led consortium for preparing a plan for the privatization of PIA, as the government was scrambling to sell the loss-making entity by the end of February.
The decision of picking top ranking firm as the financial adviser was made after Pakistan told the IMF that it would complete the transaction at the earliest possible time.
The caretaker Privatization Minister outlined various stages of the process for the PIA’s privatization, saying that the Privatization Commission was diligently executing the task.
PIA incurred losses of Rs 86 billion last year and this year’s estimate is a staggering Rs 153 billion, making privatization or grounding the airline a necessity. The government is considering selling at least 51% shares along with management control.