Philippine Trade and Industry Secretary Peter Favila Wednesday said he would recommend the removal of the import tariff on cement to bring down the local prices.
Favila’s comments came after Holcim Philippines Inc. and Lafarge Cement announced they planned to raise cement prices in October by as much as PHP12 a 40kg bag.
The government currently imposes a 3% tariff on Portland cement imports from within Southeast Asia and 5% from other regions.
"Hopefully, imported cement will give competition to the industry and bring down local prices to more affordable levels," Favila said.
The trade department said a bag of cement now costs PHP190-PHP195/bag in metropolitan Manila.
Cement companies have attributed the impending price adjustment to a rise in the price of coal, which accounts for 40% of the production cost; coal is used as the fuel.
The higher cost of cement and other construction materials is hurting the property development sector as well as the government, which is stepping up public works to help boost economic activity.