October 16, 2022 (MLN): Steel industry is pivotal for sustainable economic growth, a prerequisite for rapid development, progress, and prosperity in the country, said Coordinator to Federal Tax Ombudsman (FTO) Meher Kashif Younis on Sunday.
He said that the iron and steel industry was the bottom-line producer industry and the mother of all industries as it helped other secondary industries, besides also contributing towards national development.
He said that worldwide, the steel industry was considered one of the vital aspects of stable growth and economic development, adding, “our industrial policy needs to prioritize steel production over sugar, cola and cigarettes production.”
There was a dire need for promoting the steel sector as the demand for steel was higher than its production and the gap was met through imports. “Even if the reverse were the case, we would have exported steel given its high demand world over,” he highlighted.
“We are spending our precious foreign exchange because the steel mill is closed and ship breaking at Gadhani cannot cater the needs and is less than capacity,” Meher said.
The FTO coordinator said steel was also recyclable and, therefore, unlikely to run out like fossil fuels. “About 88 percent of steel is recycled throughout the world and unlike other recycled materials, steel never loses its strength during recycling.”
“This is the reason that ship-breaking which is part of the steel sector, is so important,” he said.
He said that about 15% of the domestic production of steel came from ship-breaking scrap. Highlighting the significance of steel sector in national development, Meher said iron and steel sector was part of the large scale manufacturing (LSM); not only it had linkage with other industrial sub-sectors, but also with the agriculture and services sectors – which used implements made of iron and steel.
“It is impossible to think of any sector, which doesn’t benefit from it. The per capita use of steel in Pakistan is only 35 kg as compared to the last year world average of 233 kg which is one of the key points the policymakers should consider, in order to tailor such a master plan to strengthen the industrial base rather than only focusing on textile and clothing sectors,” he emphasized.
He said, “What we need is equal share and focus on all industries, a little more on the steel industry. Increasing the production of iron and steel will yield more benefits to the country.”
“The road ahead— of expanding iron and steel— is not hard at all; it only requires policy thinking at a couple of places.
“In our industry, the share of iron and steel is only 1.6 percent, while in the LSM sector it is 3.4 percent and such a small share is unlikely to take Pakistan towards rapid industrialisation and development,” the FTO coordinator said.
Those countries, he said, which expanded their iron and steel sector had developed rapidly because of the use of iron and steel in numerous products in every sector.
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