Builders decry hike in steel bar prices

Urge government to waive duty on steel imports to stabilise prices


Our Correspondent May 19, 2021
PHOTO: FILE

KARACHI:

In the wake of increasing prices of steel bars, builders and developers have demanded a waiver from regulatory duty and additional regulatory duty on the import of steel to stabilise prices.

Prices of steel bars were around Rs117,000 per ton in November 2020, which have now surged to Rs142,000.

The price surge has put a massive burden on the construction sector, which started picking up pace following the government’s initiatives to offset the impact of Covid-19 on the economy and employment in the country.

Association of Builders and Developers of Pakistan (ABAD) Chairman Fayyaz Ilyas rejected the recent price hike for iron bars and lamented that the construction industry and the Naya Pakistan Housing Scheme would suffer due to the increasing prices.

He urged the government to abolish the regulatory duty and additional regulatory duty on steel imports to maintain stability in steel prices.

“We request Prime Minister Imran Khan to allow import of steel bars to improve competition and check cartelisation,” said National Coordination Committee on Housing, Construction and Development member Hassan Bakshi while talking to The Express Tribune.

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The construction industry had previously been ignored by successive governments for seven decades, but the present government, while understanding the importance of the industry for economic development, announced a special package for the revival of the construction industry in particular and the national economy in general, said Ilyas. But, with the resumption of construction activities, steel manufacturers have raised prices of steel bars - an important component used in construction - manifold, making construction costly.

“The new price of iron bars has reached the highest level of Rs142,000 per ton with the recent hike of Rs5,000, which is not acceptable,” he said. He demanded that the federal government abolish regulatory duty and additional regulatory duty on the import of steel bars to stabilise prices so that the construction industry could flourish and prime minister’s dream of constructing five million houses for the lower strata of society could be realised.

However, equity analyst Arsalan Ahmed had a different view. He said that the duty waiver would not make much difference as prices were surging due to a hike in international prices.

Published in The Express Tribune, May 19th, 2021.

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