The Indian cement industry has sought for abolition of import duty on coal.
Apart from coal, the industry has also asked for similar cuts in duties in petcoke and gypsum. Currently, coal and petcoke attract an import duty of five per cent and top cement majors are dependent on imported fuel as indigenous coal is inadequately available. Industry opined that the cement is being imported without any duty where as the cement makers have to pay import duty on inputs. “This leads to anomaly in which import duty on inputs is higher than the finished product,” said industry leaders.
In its pre-budget memorandum, the Cement Manufacturers’ Association (CMA), said, “ Due to short supply of indigenous coal, the main fuel, the cement industry has to depend on imported coal and petcoke.” It further added that gypsum also has a duty of 5 per cent.
Last year, imported coal prices had reached as high as US$180/t. Currently, the international coal prices are trading close to US$90/t. The industry also has asked for removing differential excise duty structure on cement. “This is leading to confusion and unnecessary litigations. …It should be uniform,” said Hari Mohan Bangur, chairman and managing director of Shree Cement.