News Clarification for news report titled ‘Centre readies PSM privatisation process’

The Privatisation Commission would like to clarify the news report titled ‘Centre readies PSM privatisation process’ which was published on 5th January 2016 in ‘The News’.

The news report has unfortunately misrepresented the privatisation case of Pakistan Steel Mills (PSM) as well as misquoted the Chairman Privatisation Commission, Mr. Muhammad Zubair, on several important points. Firstly, the news report quotes Mr. Zubair in stating that the federal government has contacted the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government and offered PSM, in addition to the offer given to the Sindh Government and that Mr. Pervez Khattak has declined the offer.

These statements were never made by the Chairman Privatisation Commission during the given interview to The News and are neither factually correct. The fact remains that the federal government has only given the offer to buy PSM to the Sindh government and no such offer has been made to the KP government. It should also be clarified that the decision to offer PSM to Sindh Government was only conveyed by the Privatisation Commission based on the decision of the Cabinet Committee on Privatisation (CCoP), who in a meeting held on 2nd October 2015 decided to offer PSM along with all its assets and liabilities to the Sindh government, as it had conveyed its interest to acquire the organization.

Following the CCoP meeting, the Privatisation Commission sent out a letter to the Sindh Government on 2nd October 2015, inquiring about its interest. Since October 2015, the Privatisation Commission has made numerous follow ups with the Sindh Government, including sending reminder letters inquiring about their final decision on the given offer. However, no official response was given by the Sindh Government until after office hours on 4th January 2016, where the Privatisation Commission has now received a letter from Sindh Finance Minister, Mr. Murad Ali Shah seeking more details about the organization but without giving any decision. The Privatisation Commission shall be responding to Government of Sindh’s letter very shortly, so that the process can quickly move forward and the on-going losses to the national exchequer inflicted by PSM can be curtailed.