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Saturday Nov 28 2020
Web Desk

Those who sank Pakistan Steel Mills will play politics over it: Hammad Azhar

Web Desk
Federal Minister for Industries and Production Hammad Azhar addressing a press conference in Islamabad, on November 28, 2020. — PID  

ISLAMABAD: Federal Minister for Industries and Production Hammad Azhar said the government had to take "tough decisions" by sacking over 4,500 Pakistan Steel Mills employees, warning that those who sank the institution will do politics over it now. 

The minister said the State-Owned Entities were inflicting losses of around Rs200 billion to the national exchequer, which is more than the defence budget of the country.

Azhar said that PSM had been closed for the last five-and-half years while the government had to pay salaries and pensions of billions of rupees to the employees for nothing.

He said the operational capacity of the PSM was reduced to 40% during the PPP government while in this tenure it registered loss of around Rs100 billion.

He said the PPP during its tenure had inducted thousands of employees in the mills which was beyond its capacity.

Likewise, he added, during the PML government the operational capacity was further reduced from 40% to 20% and then to 6% and ultimately, it was closed down in 2015. 

"In 2008, the PSM was a profit-making institution," he said, adding that in the same year, the steel mills had Rs8 billion in its account. 

The minister said that if previous governments took timely decisions, then billions in salaries and pensions wouldn't have to be paid to the PSM employees. 

"If the same money was spent on different sectors, thousands of jobs would have been created by now," he said. 

He said that the PSM employees that had been fired will be given, on average, Rs2.3 million per employee. "Rs10 billion have to be paid to 4,500 employees of the Pakistan Steel Mills," he said. 

The PSM employees staged a protest at the National Highway in Karachi against their sacking. The protesters burnt tyres at the Steel Town Chowk in Karachi, causing the flow of traffic to come to a standstill. 

PSM sacks 4,500 employees

A day earlier, 4,544 of employees of the PSM, including the Divisional and Assistant Managers, had been sacked from their jobs, stated the PSM spokesperson confirmed.

Management confirmed that officials belonging to category 2,3, and 4 pay groups have been dismissed from their jobs.

The spokesperson had also notified that dismissal letters have been sent to sacked employees by post. However, he had clarified that corporate secretaries of departments have been fired neither have the staff working in schools and colleges been let go.

On the other hand, PSM Stakeholders Group Convener Mamriz Khan had lamented that the state has become indifferent to the employees of one of the largest public sectors of Pakistan.

"There are reports that the department head was called today so that employees can be dismissed," he had said, lamenting that employees are forced to protest during the on-going coronavirus pandemic.