September 14, 2018 at 08:50 pm
Othel V. Campos
Steel Asia Manufacturing Corp. committed to invest more than P100 billion over the next five years to boost its production capacity and revitalize the local steel industry.
SteelAsia vice president and head of business development Rafael Hidalgo, speaking before the Senate committee on trade, commerce and entrepreneurship, said a revitalized steel industry would be crucial for the country’s industrialization.
He said to help achieve this, SteelAsia aimed to quadruple its capacity by 2023 with the establishment of about 30 new mills in existing plants and five new sites which would be dispersed across the country.
“That will help us reach 70 percent self-sufficiency in steel by 2023 which is way ahead of the 2030 target indicated in the Iron and Steel Industry Roadmap study presented by the Philippine Iron and Steel Institute,” Hidalgo said during the hearing.
He said the investment would cover more upstream facilities with the establishment of new integrated steelmaking plants using recycling technologies and expansion of midstream and downstream products to include H beams, sheet piles, wire rods, steel plates and reinforcing steel mesh.
The company also intends to substitute steel imports which reportedly reached $4 billion in 2017 and create linkages to support infrastructure development and downstream industries.
Hidalgo said SteelAsia was regionalizing to create logistic savings and bring down the cost of steel while spurring regional economic activities and job creation.
Philippine Iron and Steel Institute president Roberto Cola said that while the country lagged behind its neighbors in terms of steel industry development, the Philippines was now on the verge of takeoff and due for rapid rise alongside the country’s economic growth.
He cited the importance of the creation of a single government authority focused on the development of the steel industry.
Cola, however, said some prevailing issues were weighing on the full development of the domestic steel industry.
These issues included misdeclaration and undervaluation of steel imports and product standards violations and numerous government permits and clearances required for the expansion and establishment of new steel plants.