Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf on Friday said that Pakistan Steel Mills (PSM) is a national asset and the government is committed to making it an efficient and profitable enterprise by increasing its production capacity. He expressed these views while presiding over a meeting to discuss matters relating to the restructuring and modernising of the country’s largest industrial entity at the PM house on Friday.
He said that the expansion of the PSM will generate thousands of job opportunities, help save substantial foreign exchange and provide impetus to the industrial sector of the country. The premier said that the PSM is a legacy of Shaheed Zulfikar Ali Bhutto and a symbol of friendship and cooperation between Pakistan and the Russian Federation. Ashraf said that his government desires that work on the reconstruction, modernisation and expansion of the steel producer be also undertaken by the government. The expansion of the PSM is the need of the hour, he said.
He issued directives to the management of steel mill to come with a concrete technical and financial plan for the expansion of the PSM so that the proposal can be taken up during the forthcoming visit of Vladimir Putin, President of Russian Federation. The prime minister also directed that the proposal should include suggestions for financing the expansion project including timelines.
Major General Muhammad Javed, CEO of PSM briefed the head of the state about the need for expansion of the entity and the salient technical and financial features of the proposal prepared by his management. Javed said that the annual demand of iron steel products is estimated at 7.5 million tons whereas the local production is approximately 4 million tons per year. Pakistan, he said, imports 3 million tons of iron steel amounting to an estimated $2 billion. He said that PSM, which presently has a capacity of producing 1.1 million tons of steel per year, has a provision for increasing the annual production capacity to 3 million tons.
The meeting was attended by Minister for Finance Dr Abdul Hafeez Shaikh, Minister for Production Chaudhry Anwar Ali Cheema, Minister for Defence Syed Naveed Qamar, Minister for Foreign Affairs Hina Rabbani Khar, Minister of State for Commerce Abbas Khan Afridi, Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Nawabzada Malik Aman Khan, Board of Investment Chairman Saleem H Mandviwala and other senior government officials.
Published in The Express Tribune, September 8th, 2012.