NA panel recommends Rs50bn for PSM revival

Committee praises Pak Suzuki for producing quality vehicles

ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan Steel Mills (PSM) chairman on Wednesday informed the National Assembly’s Standing Committee on Industries and Production about the details of huge losses and liabilities of the mills.

The mill had owed Rs22.9 million by the end of 2019.

He said that a number of engineers left the PSM during the last five years and that only 131 engineers were presently working with PSM.

The committee expressed its grave concerns on the worst condition of PSM and its employees and recommended an immediate release of Rs20bn for the retired employees of the PSM. The committee further recommended that PSM hospital conditions must be improved.

The chairman of the PSM said if the government would issue $50m to the mills, he would be able start the few specific parts of the PSM and would able to meet the salary requirements of the employees to some extent.

The NA panel chairman assured full cooperation to the PSM chairman and recommended that the government must allocate Rs50bn for the revival of PSM.

Meanwhile, in contrast to the previous criticism on local manufacturers/assemblers of vehicles, the National Assembly’s Standing Committee on Industries and Production praised Pak Suzuki Motors for producing quality standard vehicles in Pakistan during its visit to plant.

As per the official statement issued after a meeting of the committee in Karachi on Wednesday, the members of the parliamentary panel appreciated the role of Pak Suzuki Motors for providing standards products in Pakistan,” the statement said.

Some of the members of the committee in its previous meeting had shown their concerns about the quality of locally assembled vehicles which risk the lives of customers despite paying huge prices. The committee members had even gone so far as to allege that the officials of the Ministry of Industries were favouring the local companies in return for bribes.

However, it seems the impression of the members was changed after their visit to the assembly plant/units of Pak Suzuki where they witnessed the manufacturing of different vehicles in the plant.

According to the statement, the managing director of Pak Suzuki responded to the questions raised by the members regarding quality of products and their higher prices.

To which, the Pak Suzuki official said high markup rates, over-taxation and Automotive Development Policy(ADP) 2016-21 were the major reasons for low production in the automotive sector, resulting in price fluctuation in the market.

Additional Secretary, Ministry of Industries informed that taxation matters were taken up earlier with Ministry of Finance and Revenue but they have yet to respond. The committee then decided that an exclusive meeting may be convened with the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR), and Ministry of Finance to resolve the problems of ACD, FED, shortly.

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Ghulam Abbas
Ghulam Abbas
The writer is a member of the staff at the Islamabad Bureau. He can be reached at [email protected]
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