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KARACHI: Fayyaz Ilyas, chairman Association of Builders and Developers of Pakistan (ABAD) Tuesday demanded stern action against cement manufacturers' cartel in order to ensure the success of Naya Pakistan Housing Scheme (NPHS).

He said that continuously increase in prices of cement and steel bars would badly damage construction industry and feared that if the same situation persisted, the government would not be able to achieve the target of NPHS.

Chairman ABAD said that cement and steel manufactures started raising prices of cement and steel bars when construction activities came to take off mode with the announcement of a special package for the construction industry by the Prime Minister.

He termed the continuous increase of cement and steel bars prices by cement and steel manufacturers as a conspiracy against NPHS, urging Prime Minister Imran Khan to take action against cement and steel manufacturers as like the action taken against sugar mills owners and appointed a commission.

He said that due to ever-increasing prices of cement and steel, builders were facing difficulties to complete their projects and added that construction industry, after agriculture, was the largest job provider and if the conspiracy against this industry was not dealt with an iron hand, thousands of skilled and unskilled workers would lose their livelihood and the national economy would suffer irreparable loss.

Fayyaz said that it was high time to reactivate the competition commission of Pakistan to take action against cement and steel cartels.

Needless to mention, steel bar price per ton was Rs 110,000 in November 2020 and now it is Rs 178,500, showing an increase of over Rs 68000 per ton during the last 10 months. On the other hand, cement prices have increased to Rs 680 per 50-kg bag.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021

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