Interview with Mr. Abbas Akberali — Chairman Amreli Steels
Mr. Abbas Akberali is the Patron-in-Chief of Pakistan Association of Large Steel Producers. He is also Chairman Amreli Steels, which is the largest producer of world class steel bars in Pakistan. He is also Vice Chairman of National Steel Advisory Council. He is on the Board of the Engineering Development Board. He has spent over five decades in the steel sector of Pakistan and is regarded as a steel ICON and brings unparalleled experience with Metallurgical Engineering background combined with an MBA from Columbia University, NY, USA.
Mr. Abbas Akberali’s family has been in the steel business since 1948 and the Amreli Steels was founded in 1972 by his family. Mr. Abbas Akberali set up a fully automatic re-rolling mill in 1984. In the year 2018, state-of-the-art Italian plant was commissioned and presently the capacity of Amreli Steels Limited is 600,000 tons plus of Steel bars pear year.
PAGE: Could you tell me about the investment in the steel sector in Pakistan?
Abbas Akberali: The steel sector witnessed huge investments in the last 6-7 years. New European steel plant were imported and installed in the country. Amreli Steels made heavy investment and expanded its capacity to 600,000 tons. The company went for IPO which attracted manifold public subscription. The government can play a very big role in bringing and further encouraging investment in the steel sector of the country. For this purpose, the government needs to provide a level playing field to both local and foreign investors. The investments could have been even much more, however, unfavorable business environment and uncertainty in Pakistan has not led to optimal investments. By providing a predictable roadmap through consistent policy framework, the government can attract further investments in the country. Pakistan’s steel sector has the potential to become a steel exporting sector after meeting the entire domestic demand of steel which is growing. Other newly established plants and those who are into expansions in their existing capacities include Naveena Steels, Agha steel , Mughal Steel, Ittefaq Steel, Punjab Steel , Karachi Steel , Ittehad Steel , Pak Steel, Pak Iron Steel and Nomee Steel, etc.
PAGE: What is your perspective about the price and demand of steel in Pakistan?
Abbas Akberali: The demand in steel is increasing in the country with new housing projects and government sponsored projects. But still the steel consumption in the country is not more than 25 kg per capita whereas the regional average consumption is in excess of 200kg per capita.
PAGE: How would you comment on investment in real estate and its impact on steel sector?
Abbas Akberali: The government sponsored construction package spurred the local steel industry by 30-40%. This was good move by the government.
PAGE: Are the current policies favorable for the investors?
Abbas Akberali: The current policies are good but still there are grey areas. The government allows sub standards import of steel at compromised tariff which hits hard the very economic survival of new investments which make international standard steel products and pay full taxes to the government.
PAGE: What is your perspective about the taxation on the import of steel?
Abbas Akberali: There is a dire need is to withdraw Regulatory Duty imposed on steel raw materials to make steel available for the public at lower prices.