ISLAMABAD: Minister for Privatisation Mohamma­d­mian Soomro has invited potential investors to come along and make Pakistan Steel Mills run in full throttle as indigenous demand for steel and iron has grown manifold in the country.

Speaking at a meeting of national and international investors for revival of Pakistan Steel Mills in Karachi on Thursday, Mr Soomro hoped that the world’s renowned investors’ consortium would participate in the revival of Pakistan Steel Mills.

The Privatisation Commi­ssion has already invited expression of interest for revival of the PSM, and the last date for submission of EoI is Sept 30.

The roadshow for Pakistan Steel Mills which started from Islamabad, ended in Karachi on Thursday.

Minister notes demand for steel, iron has increased manifold

The Ministry of Privatisation is actively pursuing this unique revival plan, which not only will strengthen the economy but also spur the economic activity at a wider level.

Pakistan has low capacity utilisation of around 60 per cent for iron and steel for several reasons as the country’s steel industry is characterised by small plants, most of which are utilising obsolete technology. In particular, most melting, re-rolling and fabricating firms have small-size plants compared to their competitors in steel exporting countries.

Similarly, the use of outdated and energy inefficient technology raises these firms’ cost of production and results in output with low quality and varying standards, according to the commission.

The consumption of crude steel has increased from 2.17 million metric tons in 2010 to 5.7 million metric tons in 2019. Growth in consumption is due to increasing population along with rise in overall industrial activities and CPEC-related infrastructure projects.

Moreover, the rise of construction needs and automobile industry demands has also played a significant role.

The Pakistan Steel Mills, a private company limited by shares wholly-owned by the government, is the country’s largest integrated steel manufacturing plant having designed production capacity of 1.1 million tonnes per annum, with a built-in potential for expansion of up to 3 million tonnes per annum. The PSM is currently in loss and remains standstill since 2015.

Mr Soomro said that production at the country’s mega industrial unit had remained suspended, but the present government had now taken up the challenge and decided to revive and revitalise it.

The minister said that due to policies of the incumbent government, the construction industry was taking a remarkable stride and because of it indigenous demand for steel and iron had gone up manifold.

The privatisation minister said that the entire process was being run with utmost transparency and all decisions were deliberated and approved from the PC board and the federal cabinet and the main focus of the government was to make the PSM operational again.

Published in Dawn, September 24th, 2021

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