Maj Gen (R) Zaheer Ahmed Khan CEO of Pakistan Steel has been the subject of much concern and comment for the last two or three years by a vast segment of our intelligentsia, including the media for its slide into a heavy loss-making enterprise.
Actually, ever since its inauguration in 1973, Pakistan Steel has seen many ups and downs during the course of its existence. There have been periods of indiscipline and disruption due to political reasons, resulting decline as well as years of steady growth, high production and profitability. In fact leaving last 6 six years, during previous 24 years, the mill was in operational profit in 16 years within accumulated profit of PKR 9.5 billion in 2007 to 2008.
Mr Ahmed Khan said that “Right now we at Pakistan Steel are beginning to emerge out of a period of doom and gloom which started in 2008 to 2009 when the international economy went into a recession with resulting crash in the prices of the basic raw materials (iron ore and coal) imported by the steel mills, while PSM continuing procuring these at high cost thus against long term contracts which were not negotiated for reduction recheck up or down while some of the essential capital repairs such as of Blast Furnace and Thermal Power Plant were also not carried out.”
He said that this coupled with corruption made a bad situation even worse. There has been gross neglect of the essential repairs and maintenance of the installed machinery. This resulted in the gradual deterioration of the machinery and the steel mills was unable to sustain the essential level of productivity. In spite of being provided with conspicuous financial assistance by the government during this period of 5-years there was no recovery.
He added that when I took charge of Pakistan Steel as the Chief Executive in April 2014, production had fallen to 1.4% of capacity. In international parlance such an industrial plant is called Dead Level Industrial Unit. It was my endeavour that Pakistan Steel the country’s biggest public sector plant should be revived as fast as possible and I sought the financial assistance of the federal government besides doing my best to raise the morale of the officers and workers and motivating them to put in their best in line with our motto that, what is good for Pakistan is good for Pakistan Steel ‘never give up and self belief leads to self-reliance.”
Pakistan Steel has been instrumental in creating new job opportunities, promoting advancement in technical know how, enlarging the range and variety of manufactured products, opening new vistas of technical and economic cooperation internationally and giving an impetus to Research & Development in the field of Metallurgy.
It has spawned three townships at the perimeter of Karachi, which alongwith Port Qasim and allied downstream industries of Pakistan Steel are the new centre and future for development of Karachi and Pakistan. It has paid back PKR 108 billion in taxes/duties against PKR 24 billion initially spent on its establishment and has the gargantuan Infrastructure know how and potential to produce 3 to 5 million tones of steel to meet Pakistan’s requirement for next 10 to 15 years.
Source – The Nation
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