Assets Worth Millions Stolen from Pakistan Steel Mills
Despite the Pakistan Steel mills (PSM) three-layered security measures, another set of assets valued in the millions of rupees was stolen on Saturday night.
According to reports, a group of criminals broke into the main facility of the mill on Saturday and stole copper wire and other components before being apprehended while attempting to flee.
The incident sheds insight on the PSM’s security. Without being concerned about security, the criminals were able to access the mill. Earlier this month, a different set of thieves was also discovered on the mill’s property. Additionally, neither of the aforementioned incidents has had a complaint filed against the administration.
Another heist recorded earlier this year involved the theft of copper wire valued at Rs. 10 billion, and it was claimed that the mill’s security system was unable to foil the thieves in time.
The Federal Ministry of Industry and Production, CEO Dr. Saif-ud-din Junejo, and the Privatization Division were informed by the stakeholder organizations of the mill, which included the People’s Workers Union, Progressive Labor Union, and Insaf Labour Union (CBA), that the total amount of losses and liabilities at Pakistan Steel Mill had surpassed 612 billion rupees.
Between 2005 and 2022, Pakistan’s economy suffered a $12 billion loss as a result of Steel Mill’s losses and lack of production.
Pakistan Steel Mill is currently in a crisis because it lacks qualified management and a board of directors.
The present coalition administration is not conducting a thorough inquiry into the loss of billions of rupees, according to information provided to the Federal Ministry of Industries and Production.
Even though the same individuals had been named in a report of theft of billions of rupees due to administrative negligence, corruption, and irregularities, no action has yet been taken against them, some retired individuals were designated key positions in Pakistan Steel Mill on contract and daily wages during the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government.
The Previous Case of Robbery
A letter from the Pakistan Steel Mills (PSM) Insaf Labour Union to the Federal Minister of Industries & Production contained a startling disclosure. The letter claims that PSM’s property had assets worth Rs 10 billion taken from it. The allegations are serious and open-and-shut, according to the letter, yet the PSM launched an internal investigation, which is still ongoing.
The copper cable was taken from PSM’s premises on the night of July 26–27, according to the labour union. Additionally, it was stated in the letter that no security guards intervened to put a stop to the bandits. According to reports, those responsible for the largest robbery stole copper and other things from the steel mill and sold them.
Privatization of Pakistan Steel Mills
It is important to note that Pakistan Steel Mills has been losing money since 2008 and is on the list of businesses that the Privatization Commission has prioritized for privatization. Recently, Pakistan Steel Mills Corporation (PSMC), which submitted a Statement of Qualification, received interest from six international investors (SOQs). Under the direction of Federal Minister for Privatization Mohammed Mian Soomro, the Privatization Commission established a prequalification committee to examine the pre-qualified parties.
According to reports, the government officials have received an offer of one billion to one billion and a half dollars in investment for Pakistan Steel Mills.
According to sources, it has been determined to privatize the steel mills in the third fiscal quarter of the current fiscal year 2022-23. Pakistan Steel had four pre-qualified companies interested in purchasing the company.
According to sources, the Pakistan Steel Mills’ shares were interested in being purchased by the Chinese state-owned corporation Boa Steel.
International investment firms that have been pre-qualified to bid have visited the steel factories.
According to sources, the balance sheet of the steel mills will be cleared, and its losses will be transferred to another company.
After privatization, the production of steel mills will expand to one million tonnes in the first year, two million tonnes in the second year, and three million tonnes in the third year, according to sources.
It should be noted that in June of this year, the Chairman of the Privatization Commission presented a proposal to restart Pakistan Steel Mills to a cabinet committee under the leadership of Finance Minister Miftah Ismail.
The chairman outlined a plan for reviving the steel mills and said that it might be done with the assistance of foreign investment.
A jetty and the 1229 acres of land owned by steel mills will be leased for commercial purposes as part of the restoration plan.
Along with several job chances, “modern technology might also be transferred to Pakistan during the resurrection phase,” it stated.
The committee was informed of the visit of representatives from Pakistan Steel Mills and their interest in investing in the project by Boa Steel, a state-owned Chinese firm.
The Impact of Privatization
The government should also see to it that the livelihood loan programs of the prime minister are made available to as many former PSM personnel as possible. Some of them could be rehired if the federal government set aside a quota for former PSM personnel or if the PSM is revived, or if they received an age relaxation for other government positions. In addition to losing their source of income, PSM employees also worry about losing their homes. A huge number of employees of Pakistan Steel are accommodated in Steel Town (in 3500 units) at extremely low rentals (Rs500 per month for the smallest unit and Rs9000 per month for the largest units), with free access to utilities, healthcare, and educational resources.
The federal government should make it easier for people who live in small and cramped quarters to take advantage of the PM’s low-cost housing program and mortgages with low markups. Similar to the KP Health Insurance Scheme, PSM employees who make less than a particular income level may be covered by health insurance. The aforementioned actions may cost the federal government money, but they are essential for taking into account the human aspects of privatization. This would help restore the PSM, a national treasure that was once destroyed by poor judgment.
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