In a popular announcement for an ailing public enterprise, Prime Minister Raja Pervaiz Ashraf announced on Friday that the Pakistan Steel Mills (PSM) would not be privatised and vowed that his government would convert it into a profitable institution.
During his visit to the PSM, the premier assured that no one would call the PSM a ‘white elephant’, as it would feed other industries of the country in the future.
Prime Minister Ashraf opposed privatisation of the PSM, saying that the PPP leadership has a special association with it. He said former prime minister Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto believed that the Pakistan Steel Mill was the backbone of the country.
He added that during Bhutto’s regime, the country was facing many problems; the economy was shattered, 90,000 soldiers were held as prisoners of war and the nation was demoralised.
Bhutto, however, revived the spirit of the nation and took a number of steps for the welfare and prosperity of the country; Bhutto visualised the future of the country and laid the foundation for PSM, the premier said.
Rs2b announced for employees
The premier also announced that he had ordered the finance ministry to release of Rs2 billion for an increase in the salaries of PSM employees before Eid.
He announced an additional give Rs1 billion towards the employees’ salaries once the PSM restores its production to 50% of its capacity – 1.1 million tonnes per year. Currently, it is operating at 14% of its capacity producing 200,000 tones.
“Work hard and take the production to 50% of total capacity, and the next day you will get Rs1 billion more,” he said, while addressing the employees.
The announcement of Rs3 billion rupees is in addition to
Rs14.8 billion already granted for a business plan meant for revival and expansion of the PSM.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 11th, 2012.
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