The federal government on Tuesday submitted a report to the Senate regarding the deficit faced by the Pakistan Steel Mills (PSM) during the last decade.
The Senate session was held under the chairmanship of Senator Sadiq Sanjrani.
Presenting the written details, Federal Minister for Economic Affairs Hammad Azhar stated that the total operational losses of the steel mills during the last 10 years amounted to Rs169.51 billion.
During the fiscal year 2018-19, the financial losses amounted to Rs16.5 billion, while Rs34 billion had been paid under the head of salaries since June 2013 to the PSM employees.
The Senate was informed that the total worth of the PSM assets is Rs409.68 billion.
Azhar said that the government had continuously been striving to make the steel mills a profitable entity, adding that the decision to privatise the PSM would be taken keeping in view the privatisation policy.
He observed that the option to work with the joint stakeholders to run the PSM existed, while the possibility of public-private joint ventures was also on the cards.
Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) and Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) opposed privatising the steel mills.
JI chief Sirajul Haq recalled that Prime Minister Imran Khan had always been against the privitisation of the institution but now he was speaking in favour of it.
Senator Maulana Abdul Ghafoor Haideri maintained that the PSM had been a profitable entity in the past and questioned how it was now suffering loses.
Deliberating on the Covid-19 situation in the country and the foreign aid received in this regard, the Ministry of Economic Affairs stated that 15 countries and international organisations had pledged $3,302 million to Pakistan out of which $2,660 million had been distributed.
The countries and institutions, which had given aid, include the United States, China, the United Kingdom, Canada, Japan, South Korea, the International Monetary Fund, World Bank, Asian Development Bank and others.
Hailing the government efforts, Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Ali Muhammad Khan said that Pakistan was among those countries which had successfully dealt with the pandemic.
Haq pointed out that his amendments in the Islamabad Capital Territory Trust Bill 2020 had not been presented in the Senate.
The Senate chairman said that the amendments would be presented in the upper house on the private members day.
Law Minister Farogh Naseem ensured that the amendments would be considered as soon as they are received.
Senator Mushahid Hussain Syed raised the issue of sending a show-cause notice to the Palestinian ambassador by the Federal Board of Revenue and taking possession of their cars.
Sanjrani, taking notice of the matter, sent it to the concerned standing committee.
The Senate approved the Islamabad Capital Territory Trust Bill 2020 and an amendment bill regarding prevention of addictive products.
The upper house also passed a resolution to express grief over the death of Justice (retd) Afzal Loan.