Senate body slams govt for ‘mishandling’ PSM issue

Updated 16 Jul 2020

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Azhar also said he has written letters to 12 international companies of which six have already visited the steel mills. — Reuters/File
Azhar also said he has written letters to 12 international companies of which six have already visited the steel mills. — Reuters/File

ISLAMABAD: The Senate Standing Committee on Industries and Production on Wednesday expressed dismay over the government’s handling of the Pakistan Steel Mills (PSM) and demanded that issues faced by retired employees should be resolved at the earliest.

The committee, chaired by Senator Ahmad Khan, said that PSM was the most important company in the country which not only provided employment to thousands of families but also played an important role in the economic development.

On the other hand, Industries Minister Muhammad Hamad Azhar decried that the mill was shut down in 2015 by the last government.

Regarding his government’s plans, the minister said that some lands of the PSM were being leased out, adding, “If these institutions were to be made self reliant, then big decisions would have to be taken.”

He said that PSM would run in collaboration with private partners, adding that it has not been privatised and there will be bidding for a joint venture later this year.

Azhar also said he has written letters to 12 international companies of which six have already visited the steel mills.

He told the committee that in 2008, PSM had a fund of Rs10 billion, but the situation began to deteriorate soon after as the sales dropped due to low steel prices in the world market.

At the same time, around 4,500 employees were made permanent in 2010 despite a running deficit.

The average production of PSM in 2010 dropped to around 40 per cent and later it was only 6pc and the mills were shutdown by the last government in 2015.

Published in Dawn, July 16th, 2020