The construction sector will be affected and the cost of infrastructure projects will go up significantly if the proposed gas price hike for industries comes into effect, steel millers said yesterday.
“The cost of all infrastructure projects will increase because of the price hike of steel products. This will affect the overall economy,” said Manwar Hossain, chairman of the Bangladesh Auto Re-Rolling & Steel Mills Association.
He was addressing a press conference organised by Bangladesh Steel Mills Association (BSMA) at National Press Club in Dhaka.
According to the millers, the production cost of steel will increase Tk 4,000 per tonne if the gas price is hiked.
The government has proposed to increase the gas price to Tk 18.88 per cubic metre from the existing Tk 7.76, a 132 percent hike.
Hossain, also the managing director of the Anwar Group of Industries, said the sector became stagnant in the first quarter of 2019 as the government allowed some foreign companies to import steel products duty-free. This is affecting the sector, he said.
“We do manufacture world-class steel, so there is no need to import steel to implement mega projects,” said Muhammad Shahidullah, secretary general of the BSMA and managing director of Metrocem.
He said local manufacturers had the capacity to produce 90 lakh tonnes of steel products annually.
He also demanded the continuation of the existing rate of value-added tax to safeguard the sector.)
Mahbubur Rashid Jewel, chairman of JSRM, and Sumon Chowdhury, organising secretary of the BSMA, also spoke.