Buy PIA, get Steel Mills for free: Miftah Ismail

Posted: 15-Mar-2018 | Last Updated: 4 years ago

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ISLAMABAD: Adviser to Prime Minister on Financial Affairs Miftah Ismail has offered to give the Pakistan Steel Mills for free to the investor who agrees to buy the loss-making Pakistan International Airlines.

“I don’t know if there will be a buyer after the next elections but I hope there is one and we should try and sell this PIA,” he said while speaking at a seminar in Islamabad on Thursday.

“I would do an offer whoever buys the PIA, I will give them Pakistan Steel for free,” he offered.

“Seriously I will take all the liabilities and I will give Pakistan Steel for free. Why should we own Pakistan Steel? They make only one million tons of steel and I think in Pakistan we import 20 to 30 million tons of steel. Why should we own Pakistan Steel Mills?”

“Every month you guy pay Rs400 million for salary to workers who don’t come to work,” he maintained.

Later, speaking on SAMAA’s current affairs show ‘Nadeem Malik Live’, Miftah defended his government’s plans to privatize the national flag carrier, saying it is incurring an annual loss of Rs40 billion.

“We cannot restructure the PIA. If we had the ability to do it, we would not have come to this point,” Ismail said.

“The PIA has become a burden on the nation kitty. The total loss incurred by the national airlines this year alone stands at Rs40 billion,” said the finance adviser.  “We can spend this money on hospitals and education institutions,” he said.

He lamented that both the PPP and the PTI had opposed the privatization of the PIA despite the fact it was part of their manifesto. “When the Sindh government objected to our privatization plan, we offered to hand over the operations of the mills at one rupee only. But they did not reply to our offer.”

Reacting to Miftah’s offer, Imran Ismail, a PTI leader, said that Nawaz Sharif was a steel tycoon and yet the PSM was facing losses while Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi runs his own airline but PIA was a mess.

PPP leader Nabil Gabol expressed a fear that the upcoming general elections won’t be held on time.