The Finance Minister—Asad Umar has informed that the government has got no plans to privatise the strategically important government-owned entities which include Pakistan International Airlines (PIA), Pakistan Steels Mills (PSM) and the Pakistan Railways. But, the government would for sure be privatising the entities that have got no strategic significance.
While giving an interview to a private channel he said that the Pakistan Steel Mills is among the projects that have got great strategic value for the country. He further added that keeping in consideration the number of iron coal reserves present in the country, Pakistan Steel Mills could serve as a base for industrialisation.
He also said that the government has provided the PSM management a forty-five-day notice to come up with a detailed strategy regarding the operations of the mill at its full potential so that it could become a profit providing project.
He mentioned that the previous two governments had done the feasibility analysis on the project, one analysis was done from Russia and other from China. Both the nations said that the project was reasonable, and it could become profitable.
During the initial days of the PML-N government, China did the feasibility analysis on PM and said that if the government invested into the project with eighty billion rupees, the mill could then attain the capacity generation of 1.3 million tonnes steel annually. The mill was operating at that time, on the capacity of 0.15 million while today it is totally collapsed.
Asad Umar further said that the formula of Washington of no state intervention in the business of the nation is not being practised by any developing country.
He added that nobody could give the example of any developing nation who has practised this formula during the past fifty years throughout the world. He said that Saudi Arabia, China, Qatar, UAE, India, Singapore and Malaysia all have got big commercial state-owned entities.
Regarding PIA the finance minister said that the government had recently approved a bailout package of twenty-three billion rupees for conducting the business of the airline, however, this is not the solution and is only a bandage, it requires much more amount of investment to keep it on the track.