Karachi: President Pakistan Businessmen and Intellectuals Forum (PBIF), President AKIA, Senior Vice Chairman of the Businessmen Panel of FPCCI and former provincial minister Mian
Zahid Hussain on Monday asked the government to resolve issues of iron and steel industry as it has gained importance due CPEC 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 said.
All the sectors of this industry including Pakistan steel melters representing around 400 units want a clear policy, resolution of tax-related issues, and an action against the flood of under-invoiced products from other countries which is keeping investors away from this sector, he added.
Mian Zahid Hussain said that domestic steel consumption remains as low as 23 kilograms per capita compared with more than 58kg in India, the Asian average of 261kg and the global average of 217kg, which indicate the potential for new investments.
Domestic steel production capacity has been estimated to be around 6 million tonnes compared to the global capacity of 1.65bn tonnes while the low quality of local production and outdated production processes are issues that must be resolved, he added.
The business leader said that Chinese firms involved in the CPEC projects should prefer to buy steel from the local market and avoid importing it from their country which will boost local industry, provide jobs and revenue.
The industry must invest 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 is met through imports.
Demand for iron and steel will continue to increase but the local manufacturers will not be able to get the benefit or invest more unless the government gives a clear as well as on g-term policy for protecting investments and take steps to make the industry competitive that include cutting the cost of doing business.