India cement industry seeks support from government

India cement industry seeks support from government
Published: 06 January 2009

BL reported that the Indian cement sector has expressed its wish for a better deal from the government, though it welcomed the second stimulus package.

Mr AL Kapoor MD of Ambuja Cement said that "Boosting infrastructure activities will have a marginal impact as these projects account for just 25% to 30% of the total demand." He however, said that the possible cut in lending rates by banks may revive some of the abandoned housing projects thus improving demand for cement.

Mr Kapoor said that "The government would have done more good for the cement industry if it had levied a 10% customs duty. While cement can be imported duty free, there is a 5% import duty on coal, which is a raw material for making cement."

Mr Vinod Juneja MD of Binani Cement said that "I think there is still room for reducing CRR by 100 basis points and repo and reverse repo by another 50 basis points."

According to Mr KC Birla CFO of UltraTech Cement, the government has withdrawn special countervailing duty on cement. Importers have to now pay an excise duty of INR 30 a tonne, just like the domestic manufacturers.

(Sourced from Business Line)