MANILA, Philippines - The National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) is pushing for the growth of the Philippine iron and steel industry, a critical component of infrastructure necessary in driving the economy to achieve its development goals and initiatives.
“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,” said NEDA deputy director general Rolando G. Tungpalan at the opening ceremony of the 2015 Southeast Asian Iron and Steel Institute (SEAISI) Conference and Exhibition.
Tungpalan 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.
Business groups, the academe and other private sector groups have billed infrastructure as the top constraint in economic growth.
In the first quarter, the Philippine economy grew at a disappointing 5.2-percent rate, mainly blamed on the sluggish government spending, particularly in public construction, during the period.
Tungpalan said the Philippines should take advantage of the possible rise in the demand for locally-produced steel products.
This view is supported by continued growth in the real estate sector, the emergence of the shipbuilding industry, and rollout of government infrastructure projects, he noted.
“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,” the NEDA official said.