Event Title: Senator Khalida Ateeb, Chairperson Senate Standing Committee on Industries and Production Presiding over a Meeting of the Committee at Parliament Lodges, Islamabad
Event Date: 2023-12-22
The Senate Standing Committee on Industry and Production, chaired by Senator Khalida Ateeb, convened a meeting at the Parliament Lodges to deliberate on critical issues concerning Pakistan's industrial sector.
During the meeting, the committee received a comprehensive update on the progress made regarding the previous recommendations concerning Pakistan Steel Mill, National Fertilizer Corporation, and Pakistan Industrial Technical Assistance Center. The Chief Financial Officer of Pakistan Steel Mill highlighted a 25% increase in the temporary relief allowance for employees, effective since September 2023, initially emphasizing its one-year duration.
Of paramount concern to the committee was the alarming surge in theft incidents within Pakistan Steel Mill, resulting in substantial financial losses. Officials revealed that since 2021, thefts have escalated, causing a loss of approximately 18 million rupees, with recoveries amounting to 4.9 million rupees. The theft of machinery and assets has significantly impacted the operations and stability of Pakistan Steel Mill.
Addressing the issue, the committee discussed the correlation between decreased workforce and the rise in theft incidents. The CFO of Pakistan Steel Mill attributed the increase in thefts to the decreased workforce, highlighting a drastic reduction in employees from over 9,000 to a deserted environment, thereby escalating security vulnerabilities.
The committee expressed apprehension regarding the prolonged vacancy of the CEO position for the past four months. Emphasizing the urgency of the CEO's appointment, committee members underscored the necessity to adhere to the appointment protocol, urging swift action to fill the vacant position in line with regulations.
In response to the prevailing challenges, the committee showed intent to call the caretaker Minister for Industry and Production and the Secretary for a subsequent meeting. With their absence, the discussion on Pakistan Steel Mill-related matters was adjourned for two weeks. The committee mandated a comprehensive briefing on theft prevention strategies, the future outlook for the mill, safeguarding employee welfare, protecting assets, and immediate plans.
The committee emphasized the criticality of the caretaker minister and secretary's attendance, issuing directives for their proactive involvement and readiness to address the concerns plaguing Pakistan Steel Mill.
The meeting also addressed key financial matters and discussed outstanding and overdue payments to be made by National Fertilizers Marketing Limited, and Utility Stores Corporation of Pakistan to Trading Corporation of Pakistan. Highlighting the urgency of resolving these payments, the meeting emphasized the importance of timely action to avoid accruing additional interest.
Moreover, officials from the National Fertilizer Marketing Limited presented insights on the issue of contract employees, shedding light on the proposal to increase the salaries of these employees and consider regularizing their services within the organization. They detailed the current status, mentioning a reduction in the number of contract employees from 600 to 300 due to attrition and lay-offs over time. They stressed the importance of neither dismissing nor permanently hiring these employees due to their numbers exceeding the organizational requirement.
While acknowledging the increased salaries by 30%, the matter of regularization remains pending, adding that the matter of regularization will be dealt with as per the direction of the government.
The committee recommended relieving excess employees to alleviate the burden on the institution, aligning with the institution's operational requirements.
In line with the committee's deliberations, proactive measures are being considered to ensure timely payments and prudent human resource management within these key institutions, focusing on their sustained growth and stability.