Dawn News

Raja resolves to make Steel Mill profitable

ISLAMABAD, Sept 7: Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf described the Pakistan Steel a national asset, a legacy of Shaheed Zulfikar Ali Bhutto and a symbol of friendship and cooperation between Pakistan and the Russian Federation.

Raja Pervez Ashraf said that the government is committed to make Pakistan Steel an efficient and profitable enterprise by increasing its production capacity.

Presiding over a meeting to discuss matters relating to restructuring and modernisation of Pakistan Steel here at the Prime Minister’s House, the prime minister said that his government desires that work on reconstruction, modernisation and expansion of the mills be also undertaken by the PPP government.

He said expansion of steel mills would generate thousands of jobs, help save substantial foreign exchange and provide impetus to the industrial sector as it can meet the growing steel demand.

The PM directed the management of the mills to prepare a concrete technical and financial plan for expansion of the mills so that the proposal can be taken up during the forthcoming visit of Mr Vladimir Putin, President of the Russian Federation.

The prime minister directed that the proposal should include suggestions for financing of expansion project, including time lines.

Maj-Gen Mohammad Javed, CEO of Pakistan Steel, briefed the meeting about the need for expansion of PSM and salient technical and financial features of the proposal prepared by the management.

The meeting was informed that annual demand of iron steel products is estimated at 7.5 million tons per year whereas the local production is about 4 million tons.

Pakistan imports 3 million tons of steel amounting to around $2 billion.

Maj-Gen Mohammad Javed said that the mills currently has production capacity of 1.1 million tons per annum with the provision of increasing the production to 3 million tons.

The PSM currently has accumulative losses of more than Rs50 billion, which mainly accumulated in the last four years. The unit is causing a loss of Rs550 million per month to the national exchequer.

The ECC has already approved a bailout package worth more than Rs8.6 billion for the PSM.

The meeting was attended, among others, by Dr Hafeez Shaikh, Minister for Finance, Chaudhry Anwar Ali Cheema, Minister for Production, Syed Naveed Qamar, Minister for Defence, Hina Rabbani Khar, Minister for Foreign Affairs, Abbas Khan Afridi, Minister of State for Commerce, Nawabzada Malik Aman Khan, Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Saleem H Mandviwala, Chairman of BoI and relevant government officials.

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