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Pakistan Steel Mills (PSM) revival plan is in the doldrums as the existing Board of Directors (BoD) has refused to endorse it saying that they have not been taken on board prior to submission to the Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) of the Cabinet, well-informed sources told Business Recorder. This was the crux of a meeting of Board members with the Prime Minister's Advisor on Commerce, Textile, Industries and Production and Investment, Abdul Razak Dawood on April 18, in Karachi. According to sources, when Abdul Razak Dawood started his briefing on PSM revival plan, one of the Board members pointed out that the entire plan was published in Business Recorder on April 18, 2019. The Advisor then sought a copy of the newspaper. After seeing the news item the Advisor clarified that he was unaware of it.

He, however, explained what the Experts Group has suggested in its study and what the Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) of the Cabinet has recommended for future line of action and subsequently, the Federal Cabinet. The sources said the Board members are not ready to respond to National Accountability Bureau (NAB) queries or of any other investigative agency. The Board members stated that they wanted to tender their resignations when the name of ex-Chairman PSM Board Engineer Memon Abdul Jabbar was withdrawn as Director, but resisted as they felt their action may create an embarrassing situation for the government. On March 28, 2019 another Board member Raziuddin tendered his resignation.

"Board members made it clear that they no longer have an interest in staying on PSM Board and requested Abdul Razak Dawood to withdraw their names as Directors. Dawood said he would soon let them know in this regard," the sources continued. Prime Minister's Advisor, sources said, argued that the PSM revival plan will sail through the federal cabinet even if Board does not put its stamp of approval on it.

The government is mulling reviving PSM under a Public Private Partnership (PPP) mode which implies some other parties (national or international) will be involved which may attract a new investigation. One of the Board members observed that earlier PSM was delisted from the list of those entities which are being privatised and now it is again being added to the active list of entities which are being privatised.

On April 16, 2019, Abdul Razak Dawood briefed the cabinet about the efforts being made to operationalise Pakistan Steel Mills with the objective to make it a profitable entity. An insider told this newspaper that Abdul Razak Dawood, also shared his sentiments with the Board members, saying that he is afraid of the day he will hand over or offer PSM to a private party.

The issue of PSM is likely to be discussed with some Chinese parties during the forthcoming visit of Prime Minister Imran Khan to China - parties that have already offered to acquire it and run it as a profitable entity.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2019

the author

I did graduation from the Government Murray College Sialkot and MSc in Psychology from the University of Punjab. I am in journalism since 1990. I worked in Daily Nawa-i-Waqt as sub editor and staff reporter in Daily Pakistan and Daily Din prior to joining Daily Business Recorder. I have been associated with this newspaper since 2000 as staff reporter. Energy Sector, Commerce / Trade and Industries are key areas of my interest. I have also the credit of exposing number of scams like Rental Power Plants (RPPs), LNG, sugar import, etc.