ISLAMABAD, 18 DEC: /DNA/ – A delegation of Pakistan Association of Large Steel Producers (PALSP) led by its Secretary General Syed Wajid I. Bukhari visited the Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ICCI) to highlight the issues being faced by the large steel producers due to the levy of PHL Surcharge and other taxes on the electricity bills and demanded that the NEPRA should withdraw this surcharge to save the steel industry from collapse. Khalid Javed, Nasir Khan, Dawood Khan, Javed Iqbal, Rafaat Farid, and others were in the delegation.
Addressing the delegation, Ahsan Zafar Bakhtawari, President, Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry said that the steel industry is making a significant contribution to the economic development of Pakistan through its vital role in construction projects, infrastructure building, and industrial development. He said that the government’s handholding with this industry has the potential to make a significant increase in its exports. However, he said that this industry is currently facing great problems due to high taxes including the imposition of the PHL surcharge, and stressed that the government should rationalize high taxes on the steel industry to facilitate its revival and better growth. He said that the industry provides employment to over 300,000 persons and is a robust support system for numerous downstream industries, therefore, saving it from troubles is crucial to ensure millions of jobs in its downstream industries. He emphasized that the government should engage the steel industry stakeholders in consultation to address its key concerns so that this industry could play a more effective role in the economic development of the country.
Speaking on the occasion, Syed Wajid I. Bukhari, Secretary General, Pakistan Association of Large Steel Producers said that the NEPRA had imposed an additional surcharge (Rs.3.82 per unit from March-June 23 and Rs.3.23 July onwards) to cover the markup charges of PHL loans, which is unjustified. He said that this tax has further increased the cost of production for the steel industry which would badly affect its business activities. He said that electricity is a key input for the steel industry and its cost has doubled during the last 2 years due to which many steel units have closed down while the remaining are struggling for survival. He stressed that the government should address the inefficiencies and T&D losses of the power sector instead of imposing new taxes on the steel and other sectors as it will cause deindustrialization and hurt the business and economic activities in the country.
Khalid Javed, Nasir Khan, Dawood Khan, Javed Iqbal, Rafaat Farid, and others also expressed concerns over the high taxes on the steel industry and urged that the government should rationalize them to save this industry from further troubles.
Khalid Iqbal Malik, Group Leader ICCI said that the Prime Minister should intervene to save the steel industry from further troubles. He said that the government should privatize DISCos and renegotiate agreements with IPPs to save consumers from high electricity prices.
Zafar Bakhtawari, former President ICCI and Secretary General UBG Pakistan also underscored the importance of the steel industry in the development of the national economy and stressed that the government should address its key issues for its sustainable growth.