Comprehensive steel policy to be announced soon: Khusro Bakhtyar

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KARACHI: Federal Minister for Industries and Production Makhdum Khusro Bakhtyar on Friday said that a comprehensive steel policy would be announced soon with active consultation of stakeholders of the steel sector for which a two-member team had been nominated from the Pakistan Association of Large Steel Producers (PALSP).

Mr Bakhtyar expressed these views while presiding over a consultative meeting on the country’s steel policy with leading steel industry tycoons at the office of Pakistan Industrial Development Corpo­ration (PIDC). He was accompanied by PIDC CEO Rizwan Bhatti.

He said that once the policy was finalised, it would help the government resolve all issues being faced by steel industry owners.

He asked them to extend all kinds of support in drafting the comprehensive policy as suggestions of all stakeholders would be incorporated in the policy.

The minister further informed the industrialists involved in the steel production that the federal government was planning to develop approximately 7,500 acres of land in Pakistan Steel Mills area as cluster-based Special Economic Zones through PIDC.

He asked the steel sector participants to explore jointly putting up Captive Power Plant in that project to meet their power needs at possibly lower cost.

“The first phase of the upcoming project on 1,500 acres, for which government has allocated Rs7 billion PSDP funding, will allow the government land to be allotted on a low upfront cost for industries with the remaining payments to be made in 5 to 7 years in easy installments on a pay-as-you-earn model,” the minister said.

The meeting was told that with the current economic growth, Pakistan would need 30 million tons of long and flat steel products in the next five years.

Besides, various aspects of tariff structure, land cost, and energy requirements of the sector also came under discussion in the meeting.

Representing Pakistan Associa­tion of Large Steel Producers, Abbas Akbar Ali emphasised the need for at least a 10-year policy so that the sector could make investments with a peace of mind.

Speaking on the occasion, the federal minister said that the government had taken notice of the slow pace of colonisation of Special Economic Zones in the country and it had found that most of the developers were unable to cater to the energy needs of the industry, which was stifling the growth of industrialisation in their zones for decades.

The PTI government, he said, for the first time, intervened to provide PSDP funding for the energy supply projects of the SEZs and has allocated Rs22 billion for the SEZ energy projects since 2019.

The PIDC CEO said that since the release of government funding for the grid, NIP had received numerous allotment applications.

He said that in the last week alone, the SEZ committee had made allotments to 14 applicants for 70 acres of land with Rs13 billion expected investment and 3,700 new job opportunities.

He also said that in line with federal government’s SME Policy, in order to accommodate smaller enterprises, 100 acres of land at Bin Qasim Industrial Park (BQIP) had been allocated for plots having the size of one kanal and upwards.

Later, Mr Bakhtyar was joined by Sindh Governor Imran Ismail at the PIDC in a virtual ground breaking ceremony of the federal government-funded Rs1.5 billion 132KV grid for Bin Qasim Industrial Park (BQIP) for Special Economic Zone developed by National Parks Development and Management Company (NIP), a subsidiary company of the PIDC.

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