DTI should give steel manufacturers a break

Posted on 23 February 2021

Since the National Steel Corporation shutdown in Iligan City in 2009, the steel industry has relied heavily on the importation of galvanized steel coils, sheets, and other raw materials. 

We cannot overemphasize the vital role that steel product manufacturers play in the country’s infrastructure program, particularly the Build, Build, Build projects. These will help redeem us from the economic devastation brought by the COVID-19 pandemic.

However, members of the steel industry are seeking President Duterte's help as they are beleaguered by sheer red tape in the importation of raw materials for steel construction materials. 

Their grievance is rooted in a Department Administrative Order (DAO) issued recently by the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) requiring mountains of documents for the release of imported raw materials for roofing and other steel products.

The steelmakers said the excruciating long period that documentation and certification take will eventually result in supply shortage of such materials. It will jeopardize government infrastructure projects.

It will also cause increases in the prices of roofing and other steel products.

They are appealing to the DTI for more time to normalize their operations to meet the DAO requirements.

The steelmakers have asked to be allowed to bring in their imported materials, most of which were purchased before the DTI Bureau of Philippine Standards (BPS) issued and implemented the DAO 2010, Series of 2020. 

The steelmakers say the products are due to arrive anytime until April 2021.

Instead, the DTI imposed additional provisions requiring more technical documents before allowing the release of their imported materials. This further hampers the availability of supply, particularly roofing materials.

Impeding the process will have a huge impact on the supply and demand of significant businesses in the country, particularly in the construction sector.

This will be taxing and burdensome on the importers as they do business, especially at this time of COVID-19 when government efforts should be geared toward helping businesses recover.

The unnecessary guidelines and requirements, in turn, will hamper industrial operations in the construction sector.

It will undermine the government’s P6- trillion Build, Build, Build program which includes 75 airports and seaports, bridges, highways, railways and hospitals.

President Duterte has assured us that the massive infrastructure will bolster the rehabilitation and recovery efforts as we enter the new normal.

Just recently, the President signed Republic Act 11571 to accelerate and streamline regulatory processes and "suspend or waive the requirements" for permits, licenses and certifications or authorizations. 

Two years ago, the President signed RA 11032 or the Ease of Doing Business and Efficient Government Service Delivery Act to eliminate red tape.

The steel manufacturers who vowed continued cooperation and support to the government deserve eased conditions in the business environment. They should not be treated like illegal drugs smugglers. They should be given incentives to step up operations and generate jobs for displaced Filipino workers.

That is why they appeal to President Duterte to remove red tape. This delays public infrastructure under the Build, Build, Build program and housing projects.

Source : Manila Standard