PSM’s privatisation

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UP till now the privatization process has moved forward with a snail pace, and loss making state-owned enterprises continue to eat the taxpayers’ money.

As the PTI is left with two years in power, it has to expedite the process not only to fulfil its election promise of reviving these institutions but also reducing their burden on the national kitty.

In an interview with Bloomberg, Minister for Privatisation Muhammad Mian Soomro said the government is planning to sell Pakistan Steel Mills (PSM), which has been shut since 2015, early next year after receiving encouraging response from Chinese and Russian companies.

He said the sale process has been revived after the government carved out the core business into a separate subsidiary which has no loans, employees and substantial liabilities.

If the government succeeds in privatizing the PSM, it will be a great development which will also have a positive impact on the country’s economy.

The steel mill is the only fully integrated steel complex in Pakistan that accounts for a fifth of the nation’s production capacity.

According to experts, its production capacity can be tripled to three million tonnes a year, which really makes it viable since there is a shortage of steel that is imported into the country.

One hopes that the PSM will operate in a far better efficient manner in private hands and help a great deal to meet the steel demand domestically.

Then, by privatizing it, according to a report, the government would be saving Rs 700 million each month.

That money can alternatively be utilised for more productive purposes such as healthcare, education, job creation and investment in water and energy sectors that can yield long-term benefits for the people and the economy.

At the same time, the government must also come up with a clear plan to revive Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) whose losses are also accumulating every year.

There should not be any political point scoring on such matters aimed at cutting down wasteful expenditure and losses of state-owned enterprises.

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