ISLAMABAD

Federal government is compiling financial information and detail lists of assets of Pakistan Steel Mills as sought by the provincial government of Sindh. 

“The provincial government (Sindh) had finally responded and sought detailed information on the financial and other aspects of PSM,” Minister of State/chairman Privatization Commission Mohammad Zubair said in a meeting to review the progress of various privatization transactions chaired by Finance Minister Ishaq Dar. He further said that requisite information was being compiled and will be shared with the provincial government shortly.

The Sindh government has recently responded to the federal government’s letter to acquire loss-making Pakistan Steel Mills. The provincial government led by Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) has sought balance sheet and financial statement of the last five years; a detailed list of its assets; and any transaction structure developed by the federal government for the PSM’s privatization. The provincial government also drew the attention of the federal government towards the constitutional and civil petitions wherein the Supreme Court of Pakistan’s had observed that it would be in order if the matter (PSM’s privatization) was referred to the Council of Common Interests (CCI) for consideration.

Finance Minister directed the Privatization Commission to provide the required information at the earliest so that the process could be taken forward expeditiously.

Earlier, the Cabinet Committee on Privatization (CCoP) in early October offered Sindh government to acquire the Pakistan Steel Mills (PSM) with all its assets and liabilities. The PSM production is at zero level since July this year as Sui Southern Gas Company Limited (SSGC) had disconnected the gas supply to the PSM due to the non-payment of bill worth Rs35 billion. The PSM accumulated losses surged to Rs160 billion. The federal government from its own budget is providing salaries to 15,274 employees of the PSM.

Pakistan had committed with International Monetary Fund (IMF) to privatize the Pakistan Steel Mills by the end of June 2016.

During the meeting, which reviewed the progress of various privatization transactions, Secretary Privatization informed the meeting that Privatization Commission was working on various entities, which had been approved for privatization/ divestment by the Council of Common Interest (CCI). He gave a detailed briefing on the various privatization transactions in the pipeline and the progress achieved on each of them to-date. The Minister directed the Privatization Commission to complete the due diligence process for the approved entities and optimally utilize in-house resources for the purpose.

The meeting was attended by the senior officials Ministry of Finance and the Privatization Commission