The Pakistan Steel Mills Stakeholders group (PSMSG), in a letter to the privatization commission, has said that the PM is being misled about the situation of the Pakistan Steel Mills (PSM) due to interest of different parties in the revival of the PSM. PSMSG, a group comprising of employees, pensioners, suppliers, dealers and contractors, raised several issues through their letter, ranging from delays of payment to the employees, non-payment of retired employees pensions, lack of management, waste of resources and many other such issues.
The PSMSG has said that even after one year of the current government’s tenure, the PSM’s issues have still not been resolved and their complaints and advice are still not being heard. The convener of the PSMSG group Mumrez Khan has said that the PM is being misled regarding the revival of the PSM. He added that the revival of the PSM was first planned to be conducted by the Pakistan Sarmaya Company, then plans were made to improve the condition through public-private partnership and later the PSM was put in the active privatization list. He further said that due to mismanagements like these, the PSM has been shut since 2015, when the PML-N government cut the gas supplies to the PSM due to lack of payments to the gas companies and the issue has still not been resolved by this government.
Khan further said that they offered to help the government in the revival of the PSM and increase it’s production capacity, to avoid the huge losses caused by the shutdown, but their proposals were turned down.
He further added that the employees of the PSM are the main victims of this shutdown because of the non-payment of their dues. He said that salaries worth Rs80 billion and dues of PSM’s creditors, which amount to Rs190 billion have still not been paid and the total liabilities amount up to Rs270 billion.
Commenting on the privatization issue and government’s plans to run the PSM through public-private partnership, the group said in their letter that there are several litigation issues in the local and foreign courts on this matter and the privatization commission can only go for privatization of the company, as it’s mandate does not allow it to go for a public-private partnership. The letter further added that the PSM has been left without a proper management structure for years and the posts of CEO and the CFO are still vacant.
The group said that the accounts of the PSM have not been audited since June 2015 and the accounts of outstanding liabilities have still not been audited, which means that nobody knows whether the record of Rs217 billion liabilities, claimed by the government, is accurate or not.
The group further wrote about the 5000 employees, who have been retired in the 2013-19 period and the pensions of those employees have still not been paid.