All Pakistan Cement Manufacturers Association (APCMA), Chairman, Aizaz Mansoor Sheikh has said that the action of Competition Commission has sent a negative signal to the business community and shattered their confidence.
In a press release issued here, the Chairman condemned the action of the Commission saying it will lodge protest at all levels of the government. The association is also seeking legal advice as regards the action to be taken against the highhandedness of those responsible for the assault carried out against it and its staff, the release said.
According to the association’s statement, the Competition Commission of Pakistan raided its offices on April 24, 2008. The raiding team called the offices of All Pakistan Cement Manufacturers Association (APCMA) posing as students and requested for an appointment to get information on cement sector of Pakistan.
The secretary obliged the calling students and to his utter surprise it was a raiding team.
This team forcibly took over the control of the premises and harassed the secretary demanding information about an assumed cartel. The raiding team confiscated the computers and the office records of the association in a haphazard manner and took away whatever they could clutch at, the statement added.
It said that the Commission has been accusing cement manufacturers since last ten years of having formed a cartel but has been unable to prove anything. The association collects data from cement manufacturers and shares it with Government, financial institutions and public at large. The working of the association is very transparent, as is the case with the entire cement sector.
It said cement prices in Pakistan are the lowest in the world although the sector is burdened with the highest rate of taxation.
We as an industry are meeting the Entire National requirement of cement in an environment of International shortage of cement, it added. Cement Sector is contributing Rs 30 billion to the national exchequer in form of direct taxation.
Cement exports in the current financial year will fetch approximately US $500 million.
There are four foreign companies, three companies of armed forces and 16 listed companies manufacturing cement in Pakistan who have also collectively invested at least Rs 100 billion in capacity expansion over last four years, the release said.
It said the news that the association has called an emergency meeting of its members is baseless as no such meeting has been called.