KARACHI (March 05 2004): Unprecedented and frequent upward revision in the prices of steel products by Pakistan Steel Mills is likely to badly affect re-rolling mills and the construction industry of the country.
On the pretext of increased international prices of iron ore and other inputs Pakistan Steel Mills again enhanced prices of its various products including pig iron, steel billets etc on Thursday.
The prices of steel billets have been drastically increased by Rs 4,750 per tonne from previous Rs 23,500 to Rs 28,250 per tonne. The cumulative increase after the inclusion of 20 percent sales tax levied on steel billets comes to Rs 5,700 per tonne.
According to the steel re-rollers this deadly hike in the prices of the steel products would not only prove disastrous for the foundries and re-rolling mills but definitely would badly hit the construction and its allied industries in the country. It should be recalled here that in a similar move, just a week ago the Pakistan Steel Mills had already enhanced Rs 2,300 per tonne in the rates of steel billets.
Director, Nawab Brothers Steel, Humayun commenting on the emerging steel crisis situation in the country, contended that Pakistan Steel Mills has long-term contracts with foreign firms regarding the provision of iron ore and in this context its pretext of non-availability of iron ore or international crisis to this effect does not stand justified.
On the other hand, even if this excuse of non-availability of iron ore is accepted, being a government entity it is primarily the responsibility of the government to come for its rescue by reducing heavy levies imposed on its products, he observed.
In this backdrop, he referred to India where in view of the same situation the government has brought down excise duty from 16% to 8% and reduced the import duty to 5% only.
He regretted that neither the government, nor the Pakistan Steel Mills is interested to tackle the situation carefully, instead they are bent upon to exploit the international situation in their favour.
He expressed grave concern that if the issue was not taken up immediately, it might cause colossal losses to the economy of the country, forcing many sectors into an acute recession.