Pakistan cement exports in the month of July suffered a steep drop by 22 per cent, compared to the same month last year.
A principal manufacturer attributed the downturn to non-payment of ‘inland freight subsidy’ by the government.
Figures of the outstanding amount varied but financial officials at several companies put the finger on or about Rs400m.
Producers and traders of concrete like other commodities lamented the delay in declaration of Trade Policy 2010-11. “It normally follows on the heels of the Federal budget, but this year, there is no sign of it yet”, said a person associated with the trade.
“The inland freight subsidy on cement at 35 per cent of the actual freight was effective from March to June”, he stated and added that the industry was anxiously waiting to see if the Trade Policy announces its continuity.
July sales numbers of cement at 2.5Mt fell far short of 2.9Mt sale in both June and the corresponding month last year.
Producers and analysts blamed several factors including early monsoon and drop in effective industry capacity. “Many cement plants unable to float in a sea of financial crisis have closed down this year”, said an owner of a large company in the North.