Summary on Pakistan Steel revival plan delayed

Published April 23, 2019
The government, in the last four years, has paid Rs25 billion to the employees while the mill has remained non-functional.
The government, in the last four years, has paid Rs25 billion to the employees while the mill has remained non-functional.

ISLAMABAD: The Ministry of Industries and Production (MoIP) has delayed its decision to forward the summary of proposals to the Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) of the Cabinet prepared by the Experts Group, which was tasked to give its recommendations for reviving the Pakistan Steel Mills (PSM).

A senior MoIP official told Dawn on Monday that the decision to forward the summary has been put on hold as the PSM is currently without chief executive officer or chairman.

Meanwhile, the government has decided to place the steel mill under Privatisation Commission again to finalise a revival plan under the public-private partnership mode.

“The process to appoint a permanent CEO and board members is likely to be completed within a few days,” the official said, adding that without the presence of any authority at the PSM, there is no point in forwarding the Expert Group summary to the ECC for consideration.”

Earlier, MoIP Joint Secretary Naeem Jan was appointed as the PSM CEO in February, but was later removed in April. Moreover, former PSM chairman Jabbar Memon was also removed from his position on March 28 whereas another senior board member Razi Raziuddin had resigned.

Currently there are nine members on the PSM board, but the MoIP is yet to issue directives for the election of the chairman.

“It is possibly because the ministry wants to appoint a permanent CEO of the PSM who is responsible for the operational matters,” said one board member.

Incidentally, Adviser to PM on Industries and Production and Commerce and Textile Abdul Razak Dawood recently briefed media over the Expert Group’s suggestions in the absence of senior PSM officials from the MoIP.

The group has suggested the government to operate PSM on a public-private mode and Dawood had told the media that six investors including three Chinese firms and three Russian companies have shown their in reviving the PSM.

The Senate Standing Committee on Industries and Production headed by Senator Ahmed Khan recently asked the government to find some solution to revive the mills. “We cannot continue this way,” he said pointing out that monthly salary bill of the PSM employees was around Rs380 million and up to Rs25 billion has been paid by the government in terms of salary bills during last four years while steel mills has remained non-functional.

Published in Dawn, April 23rd, 2019

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