PSM ‘deliberate’ shutdown termed economic terrorism

Published July 15, 2016
Karachi: A general view of the deserted hot strip mill department of the Pakistan Steel Mills.—Reuters
Karachi: A general view of the deserted hot strip mill department of the Pakistan Steel Mills.—Reuters

ISLAMABAD: The government was deliberately trying to shut down the Pakistan Steel Mills (PSM) to pave way for its sell-off, Chairman Senate Standing Committee on Finance Saleem Mandviwalla said on Thursday.

“The government is responsible for the destruction of the Pakistan Steel Mills which was running at 40 per cent production capacity in 2013. Instead of reviving the national industrial unit, the government has closed it forcibly,” he said in a statement. “It’s economic terrorism.”

He said the PML-N government has not made a single attempt to reconstruct the PSM, adding that the so-called experienced team of the government has completely failed to devise a policy to revive the loss-making institutions.

“The economic team of the government has broken all records of incompetency, inefficiency and failure,” he added.

Mr Mandviwalla, a PPP senator, has time and again protested against the closure of Pakistan Steel Mills, the country’s largest national industrial asset.

“It is the policy of PML-N to deliberately destroy national assets like the Pakistan Steel Mills which has been shut down on non-payment of gas bill,” he said.

“If the steel mill is closed on non-payment of utility bill, Pakistan Railways, the Pakistan International Airlines and the Pakistan State Oil should also be treated in the same way,” he said, adding that the steel business of the rulers was flourishing from outside of Pakistan while the PSM was not operating. “This is only because they do not want to run it.”

He said the government should realise that the mill’s closure was adversely affecting employees who were not being paid salaries and pension.

The Privatisation Commission, he said, has not provided the required information to the Sindh government which has written to it so many times. “How can the Sindh government decide the future of Pakistan Steel until it does not receive the required documents?” he wondered.

He urged the federal government to impose regulatory duty on imports of steel products to save the local industry.

Published in Dawn, July 15th, 2016

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