PSM at verge of collapse

LATEST reports say that country’s largest industrial concern, Pakistan Steel Mills (PSM), which should be a source of pride and national development, is at the verge of virtual collapse due to callous and non-serious attitude of federal and provincial governments. Chief Executive of the Mills Khizar Hayat Gondal has conveyed to the Finance Minister that a crisis is brewing due to non-payment of wages and non-availability of medical facilities for staff and pensioners for several months and a political party is taking advantage of the situation.
It is highly deplorable that an organization that has been playing crucial role in the economic development of the country and has the potential to play even greater role in future is being allowed to fall for petty considerations. There are no two opinions that Pakistan Steel Mills is faced with serious challenges incurring huge losses but this is because of mismanagement, corruption, inefficiency and addition of thousands of employees on considerations other than requirements and merit. It is not that the country doesn’t need steel or its products as reports say at least $5 billion were spent over the past three years on replacement imports to make up for the PSM’s low-to-zero production. One of the main reasons for non-functioning of the Mills is suspension of gas supply to it on the plea of piling up SSGPL dues as PSM was unable to pay them. The question arises if we could spend over Rs 500b on replacement imports then why couldn’t we spare a few billion rupees to make the Mills functional. It is unfortunate that instead of reforming the loss-incurring entity, the Government is acting like a silent spectator to destruction of a national asset. It is damn easy to lose a concern than to establish and run it on a sound basis. There is no dearth of people who could still transform this moribund organization into a viable and profitable one but this requires commitment and far-sightedness, which the government is lacking. We hope the Prime Minister would look into the problems of the PSM personally and on the basis of his personal expertise suggest and implement measures that could save it.

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