The stakeholders of Pakistan Steel Mills (PSM) have requested Prime Minister Imran Khan to appoint a team of professionals for its management and revival.
The stakeholders’ group of steel mills have stated in the letter that the mills have been closed for over three years, incurring a loss of Rs.5 million per hour. The stakeholders’ group includes PSM pensioners, dealers, suppliers, employees, and contractors.
The letter blames the previous government and its ‘criminal negligence’ for the mill’s closure. Since the Steel mill got closed in June 2015, it has incurred a total loss and liabilities amounting to over Rs.465 billion.
Financial Bleeding of PSM
Apart from the total losses of the mill, the country also has to incur an annual loss of around $2.5 billion in foreign exchange owing to the steel imports, which the mill could have produced had it not shut down.
“Once a symbol of excellence and pride for the nation, PSM is completely dysfunctional since June 10, 2015, due to the inept and unprofessional policies of the last government,” said the letter, addressed to the Prime Minister by the convener PSM Stakeholders Group, Mumrez Khan.
As per the letter, the victims of the closure, which include retired as well as serving employees, the dealers, and suppliers, and all the parties having a stake in the Pakistan Steel Mill, have been suffering immensely from the closure.
Appointment of Professional Management Team
The stakeholders have also claimed Rs.70 billion in the mill. However, they have offered to change the fate of the organization by rejuvenating its existing plant.
They have also offered to enhance the mill’s capacity by three times, reaching three million tons, which can prevent further deterioration, reduce the foreign exchange loss, and improve the performance of domestic industry and economy.
The letter also states that the group had put forward some ‘workable proposals’ in the period of September 2017 and August 2018 to bring the steel mill back on track. However, the former government did not pay any heed to them.
According to the letter, PSM is facing the present unfortunate circumstances “due to unchecked corruption, inefficiencies, over-employment, and lukewarm attitude of the governments to its revival.”
According to the letter, a summary submitted to the Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) of the cabinet also reported these reasons while seeking a package of Rs. 28 billion for the revival of PSM. However, Ishaq Dar, the then finance minister, rejected it, calling for a ‘workable proposal’.
The letter resented that the proposal never came but the national exchequer had to bear the cost of Rs.265 billion from June 2013 to August 2018.
The letter also pointed out the absence of any management structure at the PSM. According to the letter, the posts of a chief executive officer, 8 directors, and 24 general managers have been lying vacant.
The stakeholders stressed that the appointment of professional management, in consultation with formal federal secretaries, retired Lt. Gen. Sabeeh Qamaruzaman and Dr. Akram Shaikh, can stop the financial bleeding of the mills.
“Revival of PSM is one of the many challenges warranting immediate attention of the PTI government,” said the convener of the PSM Stakeholders Group.