The country is facing financial losses of Rs. 20 billion annually due to incompetence and poor performance of 38 departments of the Ministry of Industries and Production (MoIP).
This was revealed by senior officials of MoIP while briefing a meeting of the subcommittee of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC), held under chairperson Senator Sherry Rehman.
The meeting was held to discuss and review audit objections of the MoIP for the year 2015-16. The sub-committee had sought details of the 38 loss-making departments.
Federal Secretary MoIP, Amir Ashraf, said that these industries are facing serious problems; therefore, an increase in prices was inevitable. He was briefing the panel on the subject of the increase in their products’ prices, on the plea of depreciation of Pakistani rupee against the dollar by some of the industries
The panel observed that many of the state entities have become white elephants as they are not doing anything. The employees are drawing salaries and pensions for doing nothing, adding that this practice must come to an end.
The panel said the government must put an end to its protectionist policy as the modern era requires open competition. The firms which are facing the challenges of industrialization are growing. The panel also expressed serious concern over shifting Pakistan’s industry to Vietnam, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and other countries that have better facilities for investors.
The panel said that two years ago, the auto industry of Pakistan wanted to operate 24/7 but now the industry is having a hard time surviving, and only operates 15 days a month.
The officials said that PSM and USCP are facing serious liquidity problems. The government is trying hard to turn Pakistan Steel Mills (PSM) and Utility Stores Corporation (USC) into profitable entities.
Furthermore, they said that if the management of Pakistan Steel Mills (PSM) and Utility Stores Corporation of Pakistan (USCP) start operating the two entities properly, sufficient revenue will be generated to cover the losses of other entities of MoIP.
The convener was also annoyed over the officials of the Auditor General Pakistan and MoIP for not attending the meeting fully prepared and bringing a large number of unsettled audit paras to the departmental accounts committee (DAC).
She said that PAC is not going to forward unsettled paras to DAC but it will discuss and review audit paras thoroughly at DAC’s level, adding that the ministry officials must hold regular DAC meetings and should collaborate with the audit officials.
The general impression is that the MoIP does not want to respond to these objections, remarked Senator Sherry, adding that the ministry will have to change its attitude.
The panel was angered over non-appointment of regular chief operating officers (COO) of the Export Processing Zone Authority (EPZA) and asked the secretary why the attached departments of his ministry are not functioning properly. The secretary said that he has started reforming and restructuring the attached departments.
The panel directed concerned officials to investigate the matter of the massive reduction in the profit of National Industrial Development Park within the next meeting along with fixing responsibility and providing the details to the committee.