The biggest state-run retail chain of Pakistan—Utility Stores Corporation (USC), which is experiencing a decline in sales currently, is inching closer to privatisation, as revealed by the sources.
Sources also revealed that the current government is making way for the privatisation of USC and Prime Minister’s (PM) Advisor on Commerce, Textile, Industries, Production and Investment—Abdul Razak Dawood has been assigned the task to make it happen.
The sources said that the PM’s Adviser is all set to get the USC privatised as soon as possible. It was further revealed that the Ministry of Industries might submit a plan to the Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) for closing a large number of retail USC outlets and laying off of thousands of employees to combat the ever-increasing losses.
The sources added that the provision of food and non-food commodities to the number of USC’s was decreased during the last 4 months seemingly to find an amicable excuse for the closure of these retail stores.
They further said that the USC Chairman—Zulqarnain Ali Khan along with the unofficially hired USC Chief Financial Officer (CFO)—Mehmood ur Rehman have shut down 439 outlets which were situated in the different parts of the nation and that too without any strong reasons.
So far, nearly 1,200 employees of the USC have been fired while the jobs of hundreds other USC employees are in danger owing to the possible closure of many more outlets.
USC has been unable to pay back nearly Rs6billion owed to different factories which has been pending from the last 3 years.
Up till now 44 outlets of the Utility Stores Corporation in Peshawar, 12 in Abbottabad, 31 in Sargodha, 14 in Karachi, 19 in Sukkur, 26 in Islamabad and 36 in Multan have been shut down.
USC has got its headquarters in Islamabad, it was founded in the year 1971 for providing standard products at cheap and subsidized rates throughout the nation. It offers commodities like sugar, wheat, cooking oil, pulses and other non-food items in local market.
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