PSM privatisation to help govt save Rs700m per month: minister

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Hammad Azhar

ISLAMABAD: Industries and Production Minister Hammad Azhar said on Thursday that the government had decided to privatise Pakistan Steels Mills (PSM), as it had become a “white elephant” and was a huge burden on the national exchequer.

He said the PSM employees were not working for the past many years and now they would get a financial package of around Rs2.3 million per employee as compensation, while they could also contribute to the private sector.

Addressing a press briefing along with PSM Chairman Amir Mumtaz and Managing Director Sher Alam, the minister stated, “With this decision, the government would save Rs700 million of people’s hard-earned tax money per month.”

Azhar said PSM turned from a profitmaking institution into a loss-making entity in 2008-09, during the tenure of Pakistan Peoples’ Party government, adding that its operational works were shut down during the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz government.

He said that at one stage, PSM had 30,000 employees, of which many had retired, while there were around 9,000 employees at present.

He informed that PSM remained closed for five years as the previous governments could not devise a suitable plan for it. “The PTI government had to spend Rs55 billion to pay the salaries to employees of a closed mill.”

The minister claimed when his party came into power, PSM was facing a loss of Rs176 billion while its interest was increasing on a daily basis.

Azhar said that the previous governments could not handle this issue therefore the present government had to a take final decision regarding the fate of the mill in larger interest of the country.

“Around 15 parties are interested in taking over the operational work of PSM,” he stated, adding that only the operations of PSM would be privatized while thousands of acres of land would still remain in custody of the PSM corporation.

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