Etihad Airways and Emirates displayed their interest in purchasing a stake in the Pakistan International Airlines (PIA), but the government was enforced to withdraw from its sell-off plan as protests started, as informed by one of the top official aware of the privatization developments.
The planned withdrawal was done as protests erupted once this got confirmed that the government is thinking on selling the national flag carrier’s stake. $1.72 billion were earned under the privatisation agenda in the initial two years. The government sold the programme stalled in the second half of its regime.
As per an official who informed a local News Channel on Saturday that there were potential buyers available and interested in the two top-loss incurring government-owned properties namely the Pakistan International Airlines and the Pakistan Steel Mills (PSM).
He further informed that Emirate and Etihad Airways showed great interest in PIA.
During the past two years, many claims of restructuring and of selling stakes of the loss-experiencing properties have been in consideration, however, not a single transaction has been made in the privatisation plan.
The present government before coming into rule advertised and hyped about the restructuring of the loss-making entities but even that is not done.
Under the International Monetary Fund (IMF) one of the most significant agenda for Pakistan was to either restructure or sell stakes of the loss-making government-owned companies. Under the IMF Pakistan got a $6.2 billion bailout.
The government got successful in selling the stakes of United Bank Limited (UBL) and the Habib Bank Limited (HBL) but its plan of selling the stakes of Pakistan Steel Mills and the Pakistan International Airlines were not successful because of many hindrances encountered at multiple steps.
The official informed that if PIA had been privatized back in 2016 it would have been on the route of betterment.
The government has clarified that the privatisation of PIA would not be put into effect or is in any plans. However, it would be restructured but it still is the part of the official list of the Privatisation Commission.
The official said that the process of privatisation would resume if a green signal is received from the government.
The official added that the case of PSM was same as the Sindh government was neither willing to take over PSM nor was in any mood to sell it.
The government has completed five privatisation transactions which include four via public offerings at the Pakistan Stock Exchange.