KARACHI - The federal government must allow direct import of steel products by member builders of ABAD without imposition of regulatory duty in order to speed up the development of the construction industry and to stabilise the national economy.

According to Chairman ABAD Junaid Ashraf Taloo, burden of 5% regulatory on steel billets has very negatively affected the construction activities as price of steel bar and relevant steel products has escalated.

It is a pity that imposition of the said regulatory duty has been made at a time when the government was planning to start working on the vision of Prime Minister to provide 500,000 housing units to the downtrodden segment of the country who have very meager source of income.

Junaid Ashraf Taloo said it is obvious that a conspiracy is being hatched to fail the government and Prime Minister’s vision. The bureaucracy, instead of abolishing sales tax and federal excise duty has imposed regulatory duty just to provide undue benefit to a specific group.

Chairman ABAD said steel is a basic construction material. The production from Pakistan Steel is in a state of uncertainty and the supply of steel plates from Gadiani shipyard is dwindling. In this scenario, it has become pertinent that the government should immediately announce to abolish regulatory duty on import of MS billets or otherwise the government should permit member builders of ABAD to import steel products without regulatory duty.

Chairman ABAD said that Pakistan Steel is the largest facility that produces pig iron, a basic ingredient for producing various steel products. In the fiscal year 2013 the share of pig iron in the total production of Pakistan steel was 4.8 percent which has come down to 1.8 percent in the financial year 2014.This has led to notable progress in the production in private steel manufacturers; the import of steel has risen considerably.

Due to a crisis in steel industry in international market, the prices dropped from 80,000 rupees to 70,000 rupees but due to the regulatory duty, the escalation trend in prices is observed which will make the realization of dream of common person to own a house impossible. The housing sector can only be developed with cooperation of the government.