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Print Print 2023-03-07

PSM privatization: PM grills PC for its failure to satisfy potential buyers

  • Directs Privatisation Commission to make earnest efforts to re-engage with pre-qualified bidders
Published March 7, 2023

ISLAMABAD: Privatisation Commission (PC) has reportedly been grilled by the Prime Minister for not completing basic work to satisfy potential buyers of Pakistan Steel Mills (PSM), well informed sources told Business Recorder.

On February 8, 2023, while presiding over a meeting on privatisation affairs, the issue related to privatisation of PSM, which was closed down some eight years ago after disconnection of its gas by Sui Southern Gas Company Limited (SSGCL). Since then, the government is paying billions of rupees as salaries to those employees who mark their attendance or visit the site briefly.

Last month, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif presided over a meeting on privatisation affairs and expressed his anger at the Privatisation Commission for not meeting its obligations on sell-off of public sector entities which are on the active list of privatisation.

Public-private EPZs: rules and regulations in final stages: PSM chief

Insiders in PC told this scribe that the Ministry has not done its work with respect to attracting potential bidders, who have already visited Pakistan several times and sought answers to a number of queries before finalizing investment of $ 1 billion, but the bureaucracy sitting in PC failed to respond to their questions in black and white.

“How can an investor make up his mind to make a huge investment in an entity without any authentic and concrete assurances from the State or its concerned Ministry/ Division,” said the insider. During the meeting, Prime Minister directed PC to make earnest efforts to re-engage with pre-qualified bidders (only one currently) for PSM through a multi-pronged strategy to keep intact its interest in the transaction. Within this context, PC in consultation with Financial Advisors of the investor, i.e., Bank of China and China-Pak Investment Company will address concerns of the bidders.

The meeting decided that to expedite the divestment of Pakistan Steel Mill, issuance of NoC by SSGC and withdraw litigation/ stay order against PSMC (to facilitate transfer of Core Operating Assets as envisaged in the SOAs). Minister of State for Petroleum and Secretary Privatisation Commission will meet CM Sindh and resolve this issue at the earliest.

Insiders claim that issue related to Scheme of Arrangements (SOAs) has already been approved whereas arrangement with SSGC is in a final stage, adding that whenever SSGC Board will be held, a No Objection Certificate (NOC) will be approved. Audits of all years of PSM are completed while the issue related to National Electric Power Regulatory Authority (Nepra) has also been sorted out.

However, PC, tasked to attract investment failed to respond to the concerns of potential buyers who have sought some assurances. Privatisation Commission’s Director General, Malik Babar Javed did not respond to several phone calls. PC’s spokesperson also failed to provide required information regarding privatisation of Pakistan Steel Mills.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2023

Comments

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KhanRA Mar 07, 2023 04:21am
Who wants to buy a factory that doesn’t work? Just close it down and stop paying salaries to ghost employees. No one will buy PSM unless Pakistan’s economy improves to the point that housing and infrastructure get built.
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Rizwan Mar 07, 2023 10:42am
This is just one of many tales of laziness which has kept this country behind. PM bhi kis kis ko "grill" karte phirenge.
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Junaid Mar 07, 2023 11:51am
Pakistan steel mill was built by zulfikar Ali bhutto government by Russian help. It has capacity to met whole country need of steel which is backbone of our economy. Sharif family owns steel industries and have intention to take over steel mill at free price
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Shass Mar 07, 2023 11:59am
Is fuze tea manufacturing in lahore pakistan by coca cola.
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Dr.Salaria, Aamir Ahmed Mar 07, 2023 06:08pm
Part of Iron Brother's grand plan to shut down Pakistan industries and ship in imports via doomed CPEC, making Pakistan a slave colony
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