INCREASED demand from government infrastructure projects, a boom in real estate and shipbuilding, all point to a growth surge for the local iron and steel industries in the coming years, an official of the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) said.
Rolando Tungpalan, NEDA deputy director general, said that amid the Philippines’ high-growth path and the economic integration of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) by the end of 2015, the government expects a surge in developments within and outside Metro Manila.
This is in addition to the many key infrastructure projects that are already on stream and in the pipeline, he added.
The NEDA official was speaking at the opening ceremony of the 2015 Southeast Asian Iron and Steel Institute (SEAISI) Conference and Exhibition held on May 25 at the Sofitel Philippine Plaza, Manila.
The NEDA official also emphasized that infrastructure development is a crucial determinant of the growth and competitiveness of the country because it facilitates connectivity and mobility, strengthens resilience among people and communities, and reduces poverty through creating quality employment.
“Iron and steel are a major catalyst for national development. The growth of local iron and steel production will support and further stimulate future infrastructure development initiatives,” he said.
Furthermore, the growing real estate sector and shipbuilding industry, as well as the continued implementation of government infrastructure projects, will lift demand for locally-produced steel, he said.
“The ongoing reconstruction and rehabilitation of disaster-affected areas and retrofitting works for disaster-resilient infrastructure are also expected to increase the demand for iron and steel in the coming years,” he added.
With an improved and revitalized iron and steel sector, Tungpalan said the government is confident that it will be at par with neighboring countries and be able to keep up with the rising demands of a fast-growing economy.
Manufacturing output data from the Philippine Statistics Authority showed that basic metals grew 63 percent year-on-year in value terms in March while in volume terms, the sector grew 73.9 percent during the month.