NAB starts investigation to indict those responsible for shutdown of PSM

ISLAMABAD: National Accountability Bureau (NAB) has initiated an investigation to identify those responsible for the shutdown of Pakistan Steel Mills (PSM) and removal of Rs11.4 billion from employee’s provident fund and gratuity.

This was disclosed in a meeting of National Assembly Standing Committee on Industries and Production by Director NAB, Ihtiram Dar which is headed by Asad Umar, reported an English daily.

On the orders of National Assembly Standing Committee, Ministry of Industries and Production (MoIP) forwarded a reference to NAB in both cases mentioned above.

The additional secretary in-charge MoIP, Mian Asad Haya-ud-Din told the committee that PSM’s liabilities stood at Rs188 billion, out of which Rs50 billion is owed to banking consortium led by National Bank of Pakistan, Rs50 billion in outstanding payments owed to government because of salaries, Rs43 billion arrears owed to SSGC and Rs40 billion to employees.

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He added the government was focused on clearing the liabilities of employees via sale proceeds of PSM land to NIP in 2007. Mr. Haya-ud-Din stated it was feasible to receive Rs12 billion from sale of 9,500 acres of land and from which Rs10 billion could be paid off to settle employee liabilities.

Originally, the PSM land was valued at Rs1.5 million per acre but now it has shot up to Rs2 million per acre. The PSM management was instructed to sell available scrap which is valued at Rs1.5 billion and directed this amount to be utilized for operational expenses of the mill.

Mr. Haya-ud-Din said the number of PSM employees should be decreased and over Rs380 million salaries were being paid on monthly basis, which had now stood at Rs390 million.

When asked about the revival of PSM, Mr. Haya-ud-Din did not give any direct reply but stated it was the time of mini-steel mills and integrated units. He said massive financial resources would be required to restart operations at PSM.

He put forth the argument that it wasn’t the government’s prerogative to run steel mill and added the entity had never been profitable. Also, Additional Secretary in-charge added PSM’s technology was from the 1960’s and was outdated. The mill currently employees around 3,500 employees.

On the contrary, Chairman National Standing Committee on Privatization, Syed Imran Ahmad Shah quoted Privatization Minister Daniyal Aziz who had said the government was vying to establish a mini-steel mill near the vicinity of PSM to provide it support.

Mr. Imran added operational matters of PSM fall in jurisdiction of Standing Committee on Industries and Production and another member noted that the failure of the mill was exacerbating issues of SSGC and the banks who had lent to it.

MoIP was directed by the Standing Committee to provide a report within three months relating to investigation of management in PSM by NAB to find the responsible party for these losses.

 

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