ISLAMABAD   -   The Economic Coordination Committee of the Cabinet on Monday directed the ministries concerned to submit formal recommendations for the revival of Pakistan Steel Mills (ECC) in the form of summary so that the ECC could make a final decision.

A meeting of the Economic Coordination Committee of the Cabinet (ECC) was held yesterday under Finance Minister Asad Umar in the chair. The Revival Committee on Pakistan Steel Mills (PSM) gave a comprehensive presentation to the ECC for making the mills operational. The revival committee proposed various recommendations to make it a profitable and competitive organisation. 

Sources said that production capacity of the PSM would be increased to 3 million tonne per annum under the revival plan. Initially, the production capacity of the Mill would increase to 1.1 million tonne per annum in first two years of the revival plan, which would take out the PSM from losses. Later, the production would enhance to 3 million tons per annum in later stage of the revival plan. The PSM, under the plan, would run under public-private partnership. The Mill, which remained closed for almost four years, is requiring a heavy investment to make it functional. Prime Minister’s Advisor on Commerce, Textile and Industries and Production and Investment, Abdul Razak Dawood last week informed a parliamentary committee that the government would need $800 million to revive PSM.

The PSM is dysfunctional since June 2015 due to many reasons. The previous PML-N government had given bailout packages to the country’s large industrial complex, which failed to yield results. The total losses and liabilities of the PSM have gone beyond Rs465 billion.  Financial year 2007-08 was the last year when the PSM posted profit of Rs9.5 billion. It ran into losses both in the PML-N and the PPP eras. Since then, its financial health has deteriorated. In June 2015, it was closed.

After details presentation, the ECC has directed that Industries and Production Division and Privatization Commission to submit formal recommendations, in the form of summary, to ECC for a final decision.

The ECC has also approved the proposal of Communication Division to provide Technical Supplementary Grant amounting to Rs.500 million for the construction of Additional Carriageway on Torkham-Jalalabad Road under Prime Minister’s Program for Reconstruction of Afghanistan. The decision of ECC would not only benefit the people and business community of the two neighbouring countries but would also help promoting trade between Pakistan and Afghanistan as well as Central Asian States.

The ECC expressed its deep concern over the increase in prices of medicines and food items, and directed Ministries of National Food Security & Research and National Health Services, Regulations and Coordination to take practical measures to arrest the current trend of rise in prices. Petroleum Division briefed the Committee on the status of recoveries of Gas Infrastructure Development Cess (GIDC) for different industrial sections. The Committee was informed about the litigation in different courts of Law, which had inhibited the collection of revenue during the recent years.