NA panel seeks PSM employees’ reinstatement

Committee members say incumbent regime rendering people jobless


Haseeb Hanif January 06, 2021
PHOTO: FILE

ISLAMABAD:

The National Assembly Standing Committee on Industries and Production on Wednesday recommended the reinstatement of the Pakistan Steel Mills (PSM) employees.

The members of the committee maintained that the PTI came to power promising to functionalise the PSM but instead rendered its employees jobless.

On November 28, the government laid off over 4,500 PSM employees following an emergency meeting chaired by the mill’s chief executive officer at the CEO Secretariat.

The NA panel, which met under the chairmanship of Sajid Hussain Tori in the Parliament House on Wednesday, was briefed on the privatisation of the PSM.

The Ministry of Industries and Production suggested the NA body to constitute a sub-committee for the privatisation of the entity and that its land, plant and machinery be transferred to it.

The ministry noted that 18,000 acres of PSM land is core while 1,268 is non-core, which will be evaluated adding that the land and machinery of the entity will not be sold out.

It was further said that Russian, Chinese and Korean companies had expressed their interest in the PSM and the steel mills would exist as their holding company. The entity’s privatisation will be completed by June 30.

The ministry informed the committee that a decision to sack the employees of PSM had been taken adding that its staff was not being offered golden handshake.

The panel recommended the withdrawal of termination letter issued to the PSM staffers.

Objecting to the government’s move on the PSM, MQM’s Usama Qadri observed that the incumbent regime instead of providing employment was rendering people jobless.

He said the PTI had pledged to run the PSM before the 2018 general elections but was now generating funds by selling the state assets.

Agha Rafiullah of the PPP said the Sindh government had formed a negotiation committee on the issue of PSM and recalled that Prime Minster Imran Khan had promised to run the industrial unit.

The PSM was one of the premier state-owned enterprises which started commercial operations in the early eighties and played a pivotal role in the country’s economy when it became fully operational.

The previous PML-N government had closed PSM in June 2015 and since then the federal government has paid Rs33 billion to its employees. As of June 2019, the PSM losses stood at Rs190 billion and its on-balance sheet liabilities were Rs228 billion.

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