PBIF for government support to iron, steel industry

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Businessmen and Intellectuals Forum (PBIF) on Tuesday called for supporting iron and steel industry and resolve the gunuine issues being faced by the local industry.

In a statement President PBIF Mian Zahid Hussain said that iron and steel industry has gained importance due to China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) project and increased construction activities in the country.

Iron and steel industry remains small and fragmented in spite of surging demand due to infrastructure development and private construction activity, he added.

All the sectors of this industry including Pakistan Steel Melters representing around 400 units want a policy and resolution of tax-related issues.

An action required against the flood of under-invoiced products from other countries which was keeping investors away from this sector, he claimed.

Domestic steel consumption remains low as 23 kilograms per capita compared with the Asian average of 261 kg and the global average of 217 kg, which indicate the potential for new investments.

Domestic steel production capacity has been estimated to be around 6 million tons compared to the global capacity of 1.65 billion tons, he observed.

While the low quality of local production and outdated production processes were issues that must be resolved, he added.

He said that Chinese firms were buying steel from the local market and avoiding to import it, which will boost local industry, provide jobs and revenue, he added.

He called upon the industry for investing in technology as local producers have not been able to take full advantage of the surge in demand as almost one-third of the domestic demand was met through imports.

Demand for iron and steel will continue to increase, the local manufacturers will be able to get the benefit by investing more in the modernizing the industry.

He stressed the need for giving a clear as well as long-term policy for protecting investments and take steps to make the industry competitive.