Now Reading: China, Russia and Korea Show Interest in Revival of Pakistan Steel Mills
Good news for the industrial sector has come as foreign investors from China, Russia and Korea have seemingly shown interest in the revival of Pakistan Steel Mills (PSM), which has been shut down since 2015. The government had also announced earlier that it will soon run PSM again via a Public-Private Partnership with the purpose of revitalizing the Mills.
This information was reported at a high-level meeting, from a set of meetings attended by potential investors interested in investing in Pakistan Steel Mills (PSM) for its recovery. These investors belong to China, Russia and South Korea, and said meetings are held almost daily for the aforementioned purpose.
The Federal Privatization Minister – Mohammed Mian Soomro – chaired the meeting. Discussions were conducted related to transaction updates, legal issues and the e-office in the Ministry. This meeting was attended by the Federal Secretary of Privatization and other senior officials of the Ministry and of the Privatization Commission.
In the meeting, the Federal Minister was informed that detailed discussions were being held with potential investors related to the revitalization of PSM. The minister was also told that the land valuation for the steel mills will be completed by the end of January and the ‘Statement of Interest (APC)’ for PSM will be available in March of this year.
The Federal Minister asserted that in order to make the work more efficient, there is a need to move to data/e-office/e-filing digitization without any hold up. The minister also stated he would prefer using e-files rather than plain old manual files. He added that legal and political issues related to privatization of industries should be taken into account and legal cases should be disposed of in a transparent and efficient way.
Issues related to privatization/divestment of shares and options for management control of DISCOS were also discussed by the attendees of the meeting. It was concluded that despite these facts, the final decision on this matter will be taken after receiving proposals from the Ministry of Power and other relevant forums.
It is important to note here that PSM was closed back in 2015. Loans and liabilities have increased to Rs. 230 billion and losses to Rs. 200 billion. Aside from this, the federal government must also pay 750 million rupees for the salaries and pensions of PSM employees. The federal government has been providing the PSM employees with a monthly salary despite being non-operational. To this end, the amount paid since June of 2013 has stacked up to a whopping 35 billion rupees.
The successive governments since then have continued to pay the wages and pensions of the steel mills’ unproductive workforce. However, the government has now decided to lay off the entirety of this workforce. In the first phase of this, the PSM management has terminated 4544 employees of its total workforce already.