According to the Minister for Privatization Mian Muhammad Soomro, six parties are interested to purchase Pakistan Steel Mills (PSM). Out of these two companies are Chinese and two are Russian.
He was briefing the National Assembly’s Standing Committee on Privatization (NASCP) in which he revealed this.
This minister informed the committee, “The PSM has been closed since 2015, and exchequer bears the burden of Rs. 400 million every month for salaries.”
He said that a consultant will be appointed by the government who will look into the matter and see if the reinstatement of PSM was possible.
Due to a shortage of aeroplanes, the Pakistan International Airline (PIA) was going through a similar situation.
He said, “If PIA gets airplanes, its losses can be reduced.”
Mustafa Mehmood, the chairman of the NASCP was more concerned about PIA’s privatization rather than PSM’s.
Mehmood said, “If privatization has to be done, it should be PIA first.”
Mukhtar Ahmed, one of the committee members was critical about the role of the previous government and said that the SME was a profit-making entity. It was completely destroyed for personal gains.
He said, “Since 2006, the Privatisation Commission has kept the SME Bank in limbo.”
The minister said that it was after 2008 that the SME Bank was in profit. When the PPP came into power, its fall started. The committee was informed that SME’s dues in 2014 were Rs. 14 billion. Now they have reduced to Rs. 11 billion.