Steel producers call for EAC standards to boost quality

Mr Sikander Lalani, the Roofings Group chairman.

What you need to know:

Tariffs. The industrialists want imports in the region heavily taxed.

Kampala. Steel manufacturers have requested for a robust quality assurance system by way of adopting regional standards in the sector.
Speaking during the East African Community secretary general, Dr Richard Sezibera’s tour of the company, Roofings Group chairman Sikander Lalani said: “We request the region to put in place a robust quality assurance system by way of adopting regional standards in the steel sector as well as putting in place a level playing field in tax administration.”
He said a level playing field will help to harmonise the tax administration among the member states in order to reduce the cost of doing business.
Mr Lalani told the secretary general various issues that must be addressed at the regional level in order to boost the growth of the steel sector.
Among them is an increase in the EAC Common External Tariff (CET) on galvanised wire to 25 per cent in the region in order to protect the local producers.
“We also request for the rebars to have either a fixed import tax rate based on volume at $250 (about Shs916,500)EAC CET per tonne or based on value at 25 per cent CET, whichever is higher,” Mr Lalani said.
He also proposed the removal of cold rolled coils, galvanised coils and pre-painted coils from the duty remission schemes of Rwanda and Burundi. Duty exemption schemes enable duty free import of inputs required for export production.
To the partner states’ governments, he urged them to prioritise and enhance local/regional content for infrastructural and donor funded projects as a way of promoting the ‘Buy East African, Build East Africa’ campaign.
East African Business Council (EABC) chair Dennis Karera called for an urgent meeting of steel producers and stakeholders before the end of September to address the issues impacting on the sector in the region.
He added that a regional code of conduct was being developed and will be considered for adoption at the November EAC heads of state summit.
On his part, Mr Sezibera said some of the issues raised were already being addressed by the EAC secretariat, the Council of Ministers and EABC.
On the issue of standards, Mr Sezibera urged the Roofings Group to work closely with the EABC and the EAC secretariat to address their grievances.

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