KARACHI: Expressing concern over the sharp increase in steel bar prices — a jump of Rs68,000 per tonne over the past 10 months — along with rising cement rates, the Association of Builders and Developers of Pakistan (ABAD) said on Tuesday the government would not be able to achieve the target of five million houses under the Naya Pakistan Housing Scheme (NPHS) if the price hike continued.
The association urged Prime Minister Imran Khan and the Competition Commission of Pakistan to take action against cement and steel manufacturers cartels.
In a statement, ABAD Chairman Fayyaz Ilyas said steel bar price was Rs110,000 per tonne in November last year while currently it was pegged at Rs178,500 per tonne.
“Sixty per cent of the total cost of a high-rise building consists of cement and steel while this ratio is 30pc to 40pc in a normal residential project.
“In this situation, the federal government will not be able to fulfill its promise of constructing five million low-cost houses,” the statement said.
Calling for stern action against cement manufacturers’ cartel, he said continuous increase in prices of cement and steel bars would badly damage the construction industry.
He said that cement and steel manufactures had started raising prices of cement and steel bars at a time when construction activities were taking off following the announcement of a special package for the construction industry by the prime minister.
ABAD termed the continuous increase in cement and steel bars prices by the manufacturers a conspiracy against NPHS and the national economy.
Due to the ever-increasing prices of cement and steel bars, builders are facing difficulties in completing their projects while on the other hand, the common people are unable to build their dream homes, the statement added.
Published in Dawn, September 1st, 2021