The government of Pakistan is facing financial uncertainty. The Finance Minister is trying very hard to reduce costs and increase revenue, so to help reduce the budget deficit for next year. The government of Pakistan can save 25 billion rupees every year and also create extra revenue by privatising the Pakistan Steel Mill (PSM). PSM was privatised by the Musharraf led regime in 2006, but the PSM workers union mafia blocked the sale in Sindh High Court and then the Supreme Court in its decision declared the privatisation as void. Since then the government of Pakistan has paid more than 25 billion every year to PSM, while PSM has only managed to increase production to 17 percent for the past 5 years.

Ironically, the company that wanted to buy PSM was a Saudi based company called Al-Tuwairqi group. When the company was not given PSM, they invested their money in creating another plant called the Tawairqui Steel Mills Limited (TSML), which during this time achieved more than 85 percent production and has established a new steel mill in Pakistan. TSML is currently supplying 20 percent of Pakistan steel requirement, while PSM is supplying 0 percent.

This clearly shows that PSM should have been privatized in 2006. The decision to halt privatisation has cost the people of Pakistan a lot in the past 6 years alone. Now that the appeal in Supreme Court for the case has been retracted by the privatisation commission, the government should make extra effort to either privatise or close down this white elephant to help save Pakistan.

SHAHRYAR KHAN BASEER,

Peshawar, July 16.