Duterte orders Board of Investments to streamline steel industry projects
MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte instructed Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez, who heads the Board of Investments (BOI), to coordinate all government efforts to streamline the formation of an integrated steelmaking industry.
The BOI said in a statement released on Monday, April 22, that it will issue permits for critical steel projects, such as land conversion and environmental certificates, within 20 days of filing. It will also hunt down substandard steel in the market.
Lopez said he wants "the Philippine steel industry to achieve a sustainable level of self-sufficiency in steel to support our medium- to long-term infrastructure and manufacturing objectives."
SteelAsia Manufacturing Corporation president Benjamin Yao estimated that the country's steel consumption would increase by 6% to around 11.1 million tons in 2019, higher than the 10.5 million tons in 2018.
Local steel demand is expected to remain robust in the coming years because of the Build, Build, Build program, Yao added.
Lopez earlier briefed Duterte on the intention of Hebei Steel of China (HBIS) to partner with SteelAsia in setting up a $4.5-billion integrated iron and steel production facility in the Philippines. This planned facility would produce billets and slabs, which are construction materials currently being imported. (READ: SteelAsia offers to revive defunct National Steel)
Aside from this, SteelAsia also has its own 5-year expansion program valued at P105 billion. In May, the company will start building a plant which will produce structural steel.
Yao said their expansion is expected to double jobs in the steel industry from the present 10,500 to around 21,000. Employment in the supporting industries is also seen to double to around 126,000. (READ: Global Ferronickel Holdings to venture into steel business)
"Once the HBIS integrated steel facility becomes operational along with the revival of the flat segment, steel industry jobs and its related industries could also potentially double up to 300,000 personnel," Yao added. – Rappler.com
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