Federal Minister for Privatisation Mir Abid Hussain Bhayo has stressed that the government’s investment policy provides both domestic and foreign investors with the same incentives, concessions and facilities for industrial development.

“Pakistan is an ideal place for foreign investment and we are much keen to provide investors a friendly regime as we believe in ease of doing business,” he said.

He made the remarks in a meeting with the pre-qualified bidders for Pakistan Steel Mills (PSM) on Thursday.

The pre-qualified bidders who attended the meeting were Bao Steel Group, Bayi Iron and Steel Co Ltd, Tangshan Donghua Iron and Steel Enterprise Group Co Ltd, and Maanshan Iron and Steel Co Ltd.

“We will facilitate the investors up to the maximum and will welcome the visit to the PSM site by the pre-qualified bidders,” the minister said.

He emphasised that the government of Pakistan was keen to share with its Chinese friends the advantages accruing from the strategic position of Pakistan.

“The pre-qualified parties are among the leading global manufacturers and Pakistan is offering them access to a huge market of steel with potential for exports across the globe,” the minister remarked.

He pointed out that the biggest advantage for the potential bidders would be the encumbrances-free entity as a new company (Steel Corp) had been insulated from all legacy issues including financial and human resources liabilities.

In the meeting, the pre-qualified bidders inquired about the potential timeline for the approval of the Scheme of Arrangement (included in the transaction structure of PSM), valuation procedure, likely dilution of government shares, utility connections, use of jetty and land lease agreements.

After the pre-qualification of bidders, the due diligence was initiated by granting the potential buyers access to the Virtual Data Room since March 2022.

Read LSM sector grows 10.4% in Jul-Mar

A request was also made for the visit of technical professionals of each pre-qualified bidder to PSM for assessment of the steel plant, jetty, etc. At present, the due diligence is going on, however, confirmation of the site visit is awaited.

Speaking on the occasion, Privatisation Commission Chairman Saleem Ahmed commented that the revitalisation of PSM was vital for Pakistan’s economic growth.

“Our proposed plan not only envisages foreign direct investment and employment generation but also the creation of productive capacity necessary to sustain infrastructure development with access to steel for exports from Pakistan’s strategic geo-location,” he said.

He also spoke about the importance of Pakistan’s ties with China in enabling a long-term partnership to benefit the people of both countries.

Later in the day, a meeting reviewed the progress on the revival of PSM. Federal Minister for Privatisation Abid Hussain Bhayo and Minister for Industries and Production Syed Murtaza Mahmud jointly chaired the meeting.

The participants discussed corporate matters, which were to be resolved in collaboration with the Ministry of Industries, Ministry of Maritime affairs and Pakistan Steel Mills Corporation.

The industries minister said that the corporate matters pertaining to the privatisation transaction would be resolved on a priority basis with the active engagement of all stakeholders.­­

Published in The Express Tribune, May 20th, 2022.

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