Pakistan Steel Mills privatization effort faces a huge setback

Pakistan Steel Mills privatization effort faces a huge setback

According to a recent report by ARY News, the interest of Chinese parties in acquiring Pakistan Steel Mills (PSM) has dwindled significantly, with three out of the four initially interested parties no longer keen on the transaction. Federal Minister for Privatisation, Fawad Hassan Fawad, revealed this information during a press conference.

Among the four Chinese companies that formed a group to express interest in the privatization of PSM, only one remains committed to the endeavor. This development raises questions about the future of the mill and the government's plans regarding its privatization.

In light of these changes, Minister Fawad emphasized that the Privatisation Commission will persist in discussing the fate of PSM, taking into account the recommendations provided by the financial advisors appointed back in 2020. This suggests that despite the waning interest from Chinese investors, the government is determined to explore avenues for the mill's privatization. However, he made it clear that the caretaker government's involvement will be limited to the operational aspects of PSM and won't encompass any dealings related to its land holdings.

As the situation regarding PSM's privatization remains uncertain, recent developments indicate that financial matters are also coming into focus. The Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) has granted authorization to the Finance Division to approve the projected net salary payments for the first six months of the Financial Year 2023-24.

These payments are intended to align with the salary demands of PSM employees, utilizing funds from the already approved budgetary allocation of Rs. 10 billion. This move underscores the ongoing financial challenges faced by the steel mill and the government's efforts to address them.

In summary, the evolving dynamics surrounding the potential acquisition of Pakistan Steel Mills by Chinese parties, along with the government's commitment to continue discussions on privatization and address financial issues, paint a complex picture for the future of this significant industrial entity in Pakistan.

The fate of PSM remains uncertain, with only one of the four Chinese companies maintaining interest, and further decisions and developments are eagerly anticipated in the coming months.