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Officials of Chinese companies visit PSM



KARACHI: Half a dozen Chinese companies on Monday visited Pakistan Steel Mills (PSM) as the process to privatise the government’s largest industrial unit gains momentum.

According to steel industry officials, these companies have expressed an interest in exploring the option of buying stakes in PSM and are currently on a visit after Pakistan held a road show in China to promote the transaction.

Additionally, the government has also communicated to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) that it will try to complete the privatisation of PSM by March 2016.

The government is facing stiff resistance from opposition parties, especially Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) in privatising PSM because of which the process has become a challenge for the state.

Perturbed with huge losses that the mill is making, the federal government has recently offered the Sindh government to take over PSM if it is interested in running the mill. In return, the finance minister of Sindh said that the provincial government is ready to handle the mill but none of the governments have communicated this agreement in a written form.

The PML-N government had approved a Rs18.5-billion-bailout package in April last year, which it further increased by Rs2.5 billion to pay employees’ salaries.

The management of PSM had claimed that the Rs18.5 billion cash injection would help achieve 77% capacity utilisation by January 2015 – a target that was never achieved.

Published in The Express Tribune, October 13th, 2015.

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