Pakistan can move forward only if everything is handed over to private sector: Aurangzeb

Pakistan can move forward only if everything is handed over to private sector: Aurangzeb


Rejects criticism, strongly advocates privatisation of state-owned enterprises

  • Promises to cut government expenditures through measures like abolishing unnecessary ministries and departments at federal level

  • Says tax net is being expanded by including retail and other sectors

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TOBA TEK SINGH (Web Desk) – Finance Minister Muhammad Aurangzeb on Tuesday said the federal ministries covering the subjects devolved to provinces after the 18th Amendment should immediately be abolished so that the unnecessary government expenditures could be curbed.

Addressing a press conference in Kamalia, the finance minister also justified privatisation of lossmaking state-owned enterprises (SOEs) and opined that Pakistan could progress only if every thing was handed to the private sector.

His remarks were aimed at pascifying critics who oppose privatisation as it would render thousnads of workers jobless.

He said billions of rupees spent to cover the losses and sustain the SOEs could have been used to provide relief to the people, adding that the entire country was carrying their burden which must be disposed of.

“It is said that no relief has been extended to the salaried class. How one could do so when billions are being spent on SOEs.”

Given that Islamabad is eyeing on “bigger” and “longer” International Monetary Fund (IMF) programme, going for privatisation is one the main tasks for the government so that it could meet the basic conditions set by one of the Bretton Woods Institutions.

Aurangzeb presented his arguments after admitting that those demanding the government expenditures were right and said the government plans about privatisation was part of the overall restructuring.

In this connection, he said Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif had already ordered shutting down the unnecessary ministries and departments – the entities responsible for not only extra expenditures but also duplication of work.


Aurangzeb also dwelt upon revenue collection and taxation, saying “the current tax-to-GDP ratio of 9.5 per cent isn’t sustainable”.

Only universities, colleges and hospitals could run by charity, he said and stressed that countries could only be managed by tax.

The minister told reporters that the tax-to-GDP ratio would have to be increased to 13.5pc – in the first phase – for which the more sectors, like retailers, were being brought into tax net.

He also listed the steps being taken to improve the working of Federal Board of Revenue (FBR), which include digitalisation – a move that going to arrest corruption.