A clear policy should be adopted for the sale of PIA.

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Former President of the Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ICCI), Dr Shahid Rasheed Butt, said on Monday that adopting a clear policy for the sale of PIA is necessary as confusion will not serve any purpose. He said that every state-run organisation squandering trillions of rupees ought to be sold, as the masses have been paying the price for their losses for a long time. 

Shahid Rasheed Butt said in a statement issued here today that the government has not yet made it clear that this institution will be sold entirely or that the government will retain some shares. He stated that the country’s interest lies in selling PIA to avoid the annual loss of billions of rupees.

The business leader stated that the sale of Islamabad, Karachi, and Lahore airports could only occur after the PIA sale. He said that selling national assets is undesirable, but Pakistan has no other option. He continued, saying that despite spending trillions of rupees, the government has not yet been able to turn the sick units into profitable businesses.

To alleviate the burden on low-income individuals, we should sell all other institutions that squander trillions of rupees, including PIA. On the other hand, the remaining profitable institutions should be protected from politicians.

Shahid Rasheed Butt said that currently, taxes have been imposed on air travel to such an extent that no one is ready to travel in first class, business class, or club class. For this reason, many airlines have started selling first-class, business-class, and club-class tickets in black to avoid taxes.

Passengers are asked to purchase economy class tickets and pay an additional twenty to thirty thousand rupees to sit in first class after boarding the plane, which is not documented.

This way, the passenger gets cheaper travel; the airline avoids additional tax, while the government loses millions of rupees in revenue. 

Shahid Rasheed Butt stated that the IMF has yet to pay the final instalment of the $1.1 billion loan to Pakistan and has not included it in the meeting’s agenda for early May. The lender is waiting for some steps on Pakistan’s behalf, after which it will be better able to decide. 

He said that for Pakistan to achieve its goals of becoming a middle-income economy and ending the ongoing cyclical crisis, it must follow the same path that other countries have successfully followed.

He added that the government must undertake reforms honestly to control the government’s role in the economy and encourage the private sector to take the lead in growth.

Our economy must be integrated with the region’s and global economy by removing barriers to trade and investment.

These reforms, on the other hand, will have to be founded on policies that are designed to maintain fiscal stability over time, said Mr Butt.

To revitalise the Pakistani economy, it was more crucial to prioritise the implementation of reforms than negotiating the size of the loan.

At this point, it is essential to speed up the reforms and increase the emphasis on the reform framework to allow Pakistan to realise its full growth potential.

Our elite is still endeavouring to find a way to circumvent the stringent reforms that will hurt their privileges, which is the source of our crisis because geopolitical rent is becoming increasingly difficult to obtain.

A nation burdened by debt cannot hope to daydream about becoming a middle-income economy. He demanded that the sale of PIA be finalised within two months to start reducing the deficit. 

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