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ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Association of Large Steel Producers has approached the Finance Minister, Muhammad Aurangzeb, and appealed him to end discrimination in levy of turnover/or minimum tax on steel sector as well as other industrial sectors.

Association’s communication says that some ‘blue-eyed industries’, enjoy reduced turnover tax of 0.5 percent and for-the-rest it has been imposed as high as 1.25 percent, and this includes struggling steel sector. Last year despite announcement of reduction in turnover tax from 1.25 percent to 1 percent in the Finance Bill 2023-24 the measure was not adopted in the Finance Act.

Steel industry has asked for equal treatment across all sectors of the industry/economy and an end to discriminatory practices. A fair approach towards all industries is crucial for creating a conducive business environment to promote growth and further investments across different industrial sectors of economy.

Prior to present economic and financial crunch, steel industry was all set to make further investments & expansions as well as technological upgradation which is only possible if govt ensure equitable & fair environment to grow. Pakistan’s steel manufacturing industry is in a very critical situation due to unprecedented economic difficulties.

In this situation, there is urgent need to end discrimination and disparity in turnover tax levy across different industries. ‘Steel industry is the back-bone of economy of any country, however, in Pakistan it remains neglected.

The recent massive devaluation of PKR has artificially inflated turnovers of the steel industry whose 70% raw material needed for steel making is import dependent, and at the same time the profit margins of the industry crashed and many mills closed their operations.’

Steel being has been one of the major revenue contributing sectors, contributing more than Rs 300 billion annually to national exchequer and provides millions of direct and indirect jobs. In recent years, leading players of steel sector diversified into exports of non-ferrous products, and emerged as the 5th largest exporting sector with 1.35 USD billion exports of Copper & Aluminum Ingots.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2024

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