KARACHI - Prime Minister Raja Pervaiz Ashraf on Friday announced not to privatise the Pakistan Steel Mills (PSM), as he promised to make efforts to convert it into a financially feasible and viable profitable institution.

Addressing a function at the PSM, the prime minister said no one would call the organisation ‘white elephant’, adding that the PSM would feed all other industries in the country.

He assured the audience that the payments of the PSM bailout package would never be delayed and said the organisation had to achieve some goals, like increase in the production. He expressed the hope that the workers of the PSM would be able to improve the production of their institution. He also announced a special package of two billion rupees for the employees ofPSM.

Referring to the demands presented by the workers, Raja said despite limited financial resources, the government would provide maximum facilities to the workers of PSM. He announced to give Rs 2 billion with immediate effect and directed the Ministry of Finance to provide the amount without delay before Eidul Fitr, adding that with the improvement of production, the government would provide more incentives.

He said despite a 0.25 million tonnes production, the PSM was still not sufficient as its expenditures surpassed the income.

He said the government would ensure the payment to the PSM out of the package of Rs 14.8b. Raja said the govt wanted to improve the institutions, as he listed the PSM among great organisations, whose foundation was laid by Zulfikar Ali Bhutto.

He said the dedication, devotion and determination of the workers of the PSM indicated that they would progress rapidly.

He said the PPP was not only the largest political party Pakistan ever had but also a federal entity that had its base within the people, who were are the real strength of the party.

He said democracy was the destination for which the PPP had given sacrifices.

The prime minister said the establishment of the steel mills was one of the great achievements of PPP founder Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, but he added that the present situation of PSM was disturbing.

The prime minister said Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto took politics from the drawing rooms to the common man and gave them the right to vote.

“I am also a worker and belong to a middle class and it is due to the PPP that a member of a middle class became prime minister of the country.”

The prime minister said he easily understood the problems and feelings of middle class and lower middle class people.

He said the federal finance minister had been asked to find a solution to the problem of PSM.

Sindh Governor Dr Ishrat-ul-Ibad, Chief Minister Qaim Ali Shah, Defence Minister Syed Naveed Qamar, Finance Minister Abdul Hafeez Shaikh and Information Minister Qamar Zaman Kaira were also present at the Iftar party.