Steel plants grapple with lack of raw materials, power shortage

KABUL (Tolo News): Steel factory owners said their businesses are on the brink of collapse due to lack of raw materials and power shortage, as well as other issues, reiterating that they need required attention from the government.

The investors said the “illegal import” of steel has affected the market for the steel manufactured in Afghanistan. Factory owners said that “dozens” of steel plants were bankrupted last year.

Maihan Steel is one of those factories that has stopped operation due to lack of raw materials and influx of imported steel in the local markets, according to officials of the firm, who said the company was established four years ago by an initial investment of at least $1 million. “We cannot compete with imported steel from neighboring countries due to low tariffs in Afghan customs or tariffs exemption,” said Omid Fazli, head of the public relations department for Maihan Steel.

“Steel is smuggled into the country through various routes,” Fazli added. “Increase in steel prices in global markets has affected the prices in the country,” the CEO of Steel Plants Union, Abdul Nasir Rishtia, said. He also said that local steel plants cannot compete with the influx of “illegally” imported products.

According to investors, at least $300 million has been invested in the industry in the country in recent years, but steel plants have often been faced with power shortages and lack of land. The Ministry of Industry and Commerce said efforts have been made to address issues faced by steel firms. “More land would be distributed to factory owners in industrial parks and more facilities would be provided to them to make sure that their challenges are addressed,” a spokesman for the Ministry of Industry and Commerce, Fawad Ahmadi, said.

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The Frontier Post

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