Privatization or Nationalization -what to choose?

Privatization or denationalization means valuable properties to individuals or private business interests. Nationalization means the taking over of private assets by the state or government. Wide scale nationalization started in the country in 1972.shipping companies, private factories; production centers, educational institutions, hospitals, etc were nationalized. In 1978 the government started the denationalization programme under the guidance of the World Bank, the international monetary fund and us experts western economists claim that “private ownership brings greater efficiency and more rapid growth”.

According to them privatization also increases production and lowers costs. It promotes economic activity. The individuals get interested in earning more through work and investment. The supporters of nationalization say that the government fixes the prices to the benefit of the people. The factories, schools, hospitals, etc and services owned by the people or state cannot overcharge for profit. Most organizations like the post office, telephone and railways run for public good not for personal benefit. We can see china where most industries, farms and educational institutions are run on socialistic principles. Our experience in nationalization and privatization is a mixed one. However there were publicly owned units that were running on profitable basis with encouraging results. For example the ptcl, habib bank and pso (Pakistan state oil).the government controlled colleges and schools that got autonomy or self control became highly expensive. Unwanted universities sprang up adding confusion to disorder.

For security and national purposes we need to have state run organizations. for example the state bank of Pakistan, the Pakistan ordnance factories, the Pakistan steel mills and the public hospitals in all big cities should be owned publicly. we know that currency foreign affairs and defense have to be under the exclusive control of the federal government for purposes of security and secrecy. Likewise most key industries and institutions have to be under government control. No one can ask for privatization of military training colleges, seaports and airports.

Charges of corruption can be brought against public as well as private organizations. The officers in a public company can accept bribes for the delivery of its products to some people first. They can employ workers after accepting bribes or favors. A private company on the other hand can give wrong statements to the taxation department to save tax. It can practice black marketing. It can overcharge when it is a monopoly.

We should favor privatization when it is to the benefit of the people. when different companies compete with each other to produce better goods at cheaper rates private ownership is acceptable. When there is no need for competition and the state can produce cheaper goods government ownership is preferable. The people should be educated, honest and well trained for any publicly owned unit or organization to succeed. The public and private sectors should educate and train them.

By iram shahzadi


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