KARACHI: Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf said that the Pakistan Steel Mills (PSM) – the country’s largest industrial entity – will not be privatised but will be made profitable. The present government is determined to protect the industry and has already announced a bailout package of Rs15 billion for the PSM.
The government approved a Rs8.6 billion bailout package on July 25, 2012 – in addition to the Rs6 billion provided to the entity in December 2011.
Speaking during the visit to the steel mill on Friday‚ the premier announced a Rs2 billion immediate cash injection into PSM to keep it afloat and assured that the release of the bailout capital will be made on a timely basis in order to move the company into profitability. “After the completion of the government’s plan, nobody will be able to call the PSM a ‘white elephant’,” he observed.
Ashraf saidShaheed Zulfikar Ali Bhutto laid the foundations of this critical institution and declared it as the backbone of the economy. He was uncertain as to why the company dived into losses. Besides, the steel mill‚ several other state-owned institutions were also registering losses and have become a burden on the national exchequer.
He said that despite Pakistan facing a financial crunch‚ resources will be disbursed for the revival of the PSM. He expressed confidence on the business plan prepared by the firm’s management envisaging production target will be achieved this fiscal year which will overcome its losses.
The PSM suffered Rs21.4 billion losses during fiscal year 2011-12, ended on June 30, the second highest in the last four years, which swelled the accumulative losses incurred by it to Rs71.4 billion.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 11th, 2012.