Release of Rs505m for PSM employees’ salaries urged

Updated February 27, 2018

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A labourer descends a flight of stairs from an iron-making section at the Pakistan Steel Mills.—File Photo
A labourer descends a flight of stairs from an iron-making section at the Pakistan Steel Mills.—File Photo

ISLAMABAD: The Senate Stan­ding Committee on Industries on Monday decided that a resolution be forwarded to the upper house to clear Rs505 million in terms of gross salaries of the Pakistan Steel Mills’ (PSM) employees.

Chairman of the Committee Sena­tor Hidayatullah suggested the resolution.

Senator Taj Haider proposed that the committee should recommend restoration of gas to the mills to process the available stocks of steel bars which are enough to pay several months’ salaries to the employees.

“As soon as the value-addition to the stocks of steel bars is completed, gas consumption should be stopped,” he added.

Commenting over Chief Financial Officer PSM Mian Asad Haya-ud-Din’s statement, Senator Haider mentioned that PSM has substantial quantity of bars to manufacture coil worth approximately Rs4.5 billion.

However, no decision could be reached over the matter during the meeting. The committee was informed that employees’ salaries, estimated at Rs380m per month, were released by the Finance Division after obtaining approval of the Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) and the Cabinet.

It was also revealed that the employees were being paid net salaries since June 2013 after ECC’s decision, but the summary for payment of salaries for October and November 2017 was prepared on the basis of their gross salary.

The Privatisation Committee (PC) has received the audit and summary reports of PSM employees and their salaries, while the mill has been directed to sell its scrap to meet its immediate financial requirements.

The Senate body decided that the PC should send summary of Rs505m per month as gross salary instead of net salary to the ECC after Senior Joint Secretary Finance Zahoor Ahmad — also a member of the PSM board — said the Finance Division has no objection to payment of gross salary to the employees. It was also mentioned that the government’s top priority was to pay Rs10bn of provident fund and gratuity, etc. to the PSM employees that were used by the Steel Mills management unlawfully.

Chairman Standing Committee said the proposal of Rs505m gross salaries will be adopted in the Senate so that the payment of this amount becomes binding on the government.

Senators Khalida Parveen and Khanzada Khan also attended the meeting.

Published in Dawn, February 27th, 2018