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coronavirus
Coronavirus
VERY HIGH
Source: covid.gov.pk
Pakistan Deaths
29,122
1724hr
Pakistan Cases
1,381,152
6,35724hr
Sindh
529,218
Punjab
466,164
Balochistan
33,975
Islamabad
120,128
KPK
185,683

ISLAMABAD: The National Assembly (NA) Standing Committee on Industries and Production Wednesday while rejecting the privatization of the Pakistan Steel Mills (PSM) has asked the government to revive the entity and reinstate the employees.

The NA panel, which met here under the chairmanship of Sajid Hussain Turi, was briefed on the privatization of the PSM.

Committee members, while flaying the sacking of the thousands of the PSM employees asked the management to withdraw the decision.

The members of the committee maintained that the PTI came to power promising to functionalise the PSM but instead rendered its employees jobless.

On November 28, the government laid off over 4,500 PSM employees following an emergency meeting chaired by the mill’s chief executive officer (CEO).

The Ministry of Industries and Production suggested the NA body to constitute a sub-committee for the privatisation of the entity and that its land, plant and machinery be transferred to it.

The ministry noted that 18,000 acres of the PSM land is core while 1,268 is non-core, which will be evaluated, adding that the land and machinery of the entity will not be sold out.

The officials of the Ministry of Industries and Production informing about the latest developments on the PSM said that Russian, Chinese and Korean companies had expressed their interest in the PSM.

The officials further said that the steel mills would exist as their holding company. Ministry officials said that the government is all set to complete the privatization of the steel mills by June 30, 2021.

The ministry informed the committee that a decision to sack the employees of the PSM had been taken, adding that its staff was not being offered a golden handshake.

The panel recommended the withdrawal of termination letter issued to the PSM staffers. Objecting to the government’s move on the PSM, MQM’s Usama Qadri observed that the incumbent regime instead of providing employment was rendering people jobless.

He said the PTI had pledged to run the PSM before the 2018 general elections but was now generating funds by selling the state assets.

Agha Rafiullah of the PPP said that the Sindh government had formed a negotiation committee on the issue of the PSM, and recalled that Prime Minster Imran Khan had promised to run the industrial unit.

The PSM was one of the premier state-owned enterprises, which started commercial operations in the early eighties and played a pivotal role in the country’s economy when it became fully operational.

The previous PML-N government had closed the PSM in June 2015, and since then the federal government has paid Rs33 billion to its employees.

As of June 2019, the PSM losses stood at Rs190 billion and its on-balance sheet liabilities were Rs228 billion.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021

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