Rescue PSM

AFTER a criminal delay, the National Accountability Bureau (NAB), on a letter from Chairman of National Assembly’s Standing Committee on Industries and Production Asad Umar, has decided to initiate an inquiry into the reasons which led to the virtual closure of Pakistan Steel Mills in Karachi and also to identify those responsible for loss to the national kitty.
Pakistan Steel has become victim of proverbial corruption, negligence, inefficiency and lack of attention by the successive governments towards its affairs. We have been emphasizing in these columns that there was absolutely no justification for the Mills to close down as demand for steel is increasing with the passage of time and private mills are earning billions. PSM has the necessary facilities to play the role for which it was set up but no one cared towards affairs in a sincere manner. Corruption, misuse of its resources and recruitment of staff more than its requirements are some of the causes that led to its downfall. Restructuring of the Mills and handing its management to a team of visionary people could have made the difference but the successive governments adopted passive approach and there was resistance to efforts made towards rationalization of staff and facilities by the powerful unions backed by political parties and vested interests. In this backdrop, NAB inquiry is a welcome development but investigation must not be allowed to stretch over years as has been the practice in the Bureau because of urgent nature of the problem. But NAB inquiry would pinpoint reasons that led to its dismal performance and identify the culprit but what we need is a plan to revive this national institution and not disposal of its assets on throw-away prices.

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