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Govt urged to decide fate of PSM early

Govt urged to decide fate of PSM early

ISLAMABAD: The board of directors of Pakistan Steel has expressed concern over non-payment of salaries to employees of the mills for the last three months.

In its meeting on Wednesday, the board asked the government to make an early decision on the future of the mills which may either be sold or retained as a national asset. The board noted that conditions were worrying for both workers and the managements.

The meeting was presided over by board’s chairman Abdul Jabbar Memon, and attended by PSM CEO Maj-Gen (Retd) Zaheer Ahmed Khan, Shah M Saad Husain from private sector, Zahoor Ahmad from Finance Division, Sardar Ahmed Nawaz Sukhera, Secretary of Privatisation Commission and Sher Ayub Khan from Ministry of Industries and Production.

The meeting was informed by the officials that in case the government decides to run the corporation, an amount of Rs9.3 billon should be approved to cater to procurement of raw material and to run the plant and avoid serious damages to its critical equipment, such as blast furnaces and coke ovens.

The PSM is not operational since June 2014, but the government was bearing around Rs1bn per month as fixed expenditures, which include Rs500 million in terms of salaries and Rs500 million for other services and utilities.

The officials of the PSM told the board that continuous closure would lead to decay of plants and technical units. The meeting was briefed about the financial status, business plan, marketing issues and employees related matters of the PSM.

Currently, the PSM has to pay around Rs19bn to SSGC, and gas connection has been cut off for almost 17 months.

Published in Dawn, November 19th, 2015

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