Steel sector possesses huge potential for growth

ISLAMABAD: Steel sector has huge potential for growth if the government ensures enforcement of Pakistan Standards and Quality Control Authority (PSQCA) standards, bridges industry-academia gaps, encourages investment in energy efficient steel plants, explores indigenous iron ores, and removes anomalies in tax structure for steel sector.
This was the crux of a moderated discussion that was moderated by Dr Abid Qaiyum Suleri, Convenor of Planning Commission’s Advisory Committee’s Sub Group on Industry & Enterprise, said a statement issued on Sunday.
Speaking at the occasion, Asim Saeed, Member Private Sector Development, Planning Commission, highlighted the Planning Commission’s zeal to engage with the private sector in an effective manner to incorporate its suggestions in forthcoming PSDP. “I am here not only to understand the issues and challenges faced by the steel sector but to also seek some plausible and evidence-based solutions”, he added.
Abbas Akberali, Patron in Chief Pakistan Association of Large Steel Producers (PALSP), emphasised the importance of investment in the steel sector for import substitution and job creation. “Establishing energy efficient units with the latest technology will not only improve the quality of our products, but will also turn us competitive in the international market by reducing cost of production. Clean and green industry should be the way forward for Pakistan,” he said. He suggested that by taking the private sector on board the planning Commission can devise a dynamic, progressive, and incentivized policy for the steel industry.
Aisha Safdar, Research & Development Analyst, Pakistan Association of Large Steel Producers (PALSP), said that the steel sector is in dire need of research that could help in taking evidence-based decisions. “Planning commission should commission empirical research on different aspects of the steel industry to formulate sustainable policies”, she added.
Shakeel Mughal, CEO Mughal Steel, said that the industry needs an enabling environment to explore iron ores and save the $3 billion outflow in terms of importing the raw materials. He also highlighted the importance of the steel sector in the context of Pakistan being located in a high seismic zone.
He added, “We need to do an efficiency audit of the small industries to improve their efficiency. Capital investment in this sector of the industry can also provide lots of employment for the locals.”
Syed Wajid Bukhari, Secretary General, PALSP said that only the steel sector can trigger the development schemes like Naya Pakistan Housing Schemes in the country and can also provide employment.
He suggested that an organization like National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) in China, must be set up in the Planning Commission comprising sectoral experts to better facilitate all the sectors of the industry.
Khalid Khan, CEO Abbas Steel Group, said that sustainable development comes with a sustainable policy from the government. He also advised that the sales tax be brought at the lowest rate to incentivize the industry. He also suggested that while giving incentives to foreign investors in SEZs, existing local investors should not be discriminated against.
Chairman PALSP Javed Iqbal said, “We need to accelerate the development sector so that our steel consumption gets a kick-start.” He advised, “We need to bring simplified systems and remove all bureaucratic bottlenecks in the PM Naya Pakistan Housing scheme.” He also advised to establish Steel Industry University to provide skilled persons and research for the development of the industry.
Dr Abid Suleri Executive Director SDPI, while summing up the discussion said that this effort is being made to bridge the information gap between the public and private sector and to identify the less known and hidden bottlenecks which halt the growth of the steel industry. – TLTP

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