ISLAMABAD : Federal Minister for Industries and Production Hammad Azhar has said at least 12 Chinese and Russians firms have expressed interest in the privatisation of Pakistan Steel Mills (PSM) and three of these are serious in purchasing it. The federal minister for industries and production said this while briefing a Senate standing committee here on Wednesday. He, however, said that PSM would be run as a public-private venture (PPV). He said that the debt of PSM is Rs225 billion at present, adding that about 4,000 employees of PSM had been regularised in 2010 and the industrial unit went into a loss. He stressed the need for taking tough decisions to restore such institutions, saying that running such state-owned enterprises requires going beyond politicking. He further said that the Supreme Court has already sought a plan regarding the Mills. He said that PSM could only be bought by an international company since local investors do not have the capability to do so. An investment of more than $1 billion is required to run the PSM, he further told the Senate committee. He said that the government will leave the PSM employees helpless, noting that the cases of approximately 500-600 employees of the PSM are in the courts. The minister stated that Pakistan’s total steel consumption is seven million tonnes and the country currently produces seven million tonnes. Pakistan currently imports all raw materials for making steel products, he added. He further said that the public institutions’ debt is around Rs1.5-2 trillion, which is more than the annual defence budget.