Pakistan Standards and Quality Control Authority (PSQCA) has refused certification of Lucky Cement Ltd’s ordinary portland cement exported to Tanzania. It has further informed Tanzania Bureau of Standards (TBS) that since the license issued to Lucky Cement Ltd had been suspended, their product ’ordinary portland cement’ would not be certified.
Lucky Cement had exported 1,288 tons of cement on December 17 to Tanzania, which was held up at the port for want of certification. Subsequently TBS had sent a fax message to PSQCA seeking confirmation whether the product had been certified.
Besides TBS, Lucky Cement had also written a letter to PSQCA informing the Authority about the detention of their cement consignment and requesting them to provide confirmation regarding certification of their product to TBS.
Responding to the request of Lucky Cement, PSQCA informed them that because of their "willful" default in payment of instalments the Authority had suspended their license. Under the circumstances neither the product had been certified nor the Authority is going to send any confirmation as requested by TBS.
A public notice was sometime back published in newspapers, informing the general public, government institutions, whole sellers and retailers that PSQCA had set mandatory standards for cement under which the manufacturing, buying, selling and keeping in stock of the said products are to be certified by PSQCA and must bear marking on the product. That Lucky Cement had failed to pay the marking fee to PSQCA in spite of notices. However, Lucky Cement had indulged in manufacturing, selling and keeping stock of its products. "Under the circumstances and in exercise of powers conferred under section-8 of PSQCA Act VI of 1996, the C. M. license earlier granted to Lucky Cement" was suspended till all payments due were paid to the Authority.
A similar notice was also published against Cherat Cement Ltd, saying that the Company had indulged in manufacturing, selling and keeping in stock products without valid C. M. license from PSQCA, "which is an offence under PSQCA Act VI of 1996, punishable with fine not less than Rs 50,000/- or imprisonment upto one year or with both."
All the consumers, sellers, stockiest, retailers, dealers and government organisations were informed in their own interest to refrain from buying and selling of the products.
In March 2007, Lucky Cement under an agreement had accepted to pay the total outstanding dues against them from 1.7.96 to 30.6.2006 amounting to Rs 28,208,396 in six quarterly instalments of Rs 4,684,822.00. Lucky Cement, however, started defaulting from third quarter - September to November 2007.
According to highly placed sources, cement manufacturers in Pakistan are not ready to comply with any standards or limits set by the national standard body, ie PSQCA. These manufacturers, however, are ready to comply with the standards of foreign countries while exporting cement from here.
An example of recent problems, which cement exports faced from India, relates to Lucky Cement, which could export huge quantity of cement to India only after getting the approval of standardisation set by Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS).
The Bureau follows foreign manufacturers scheme under which officials of BIS first visit the country of export and satisfy themselves with the available facilities for monitoring quality to produce cement in the country which is desiring to export cement to India.
Pakistani cement factories pay necessary fee to the Indians prior to export of their product besides facing hassles of many months before they are able to export cement to India. This is only possible after receiving authorisation from BIS for imports in India and post import sales for use by construction industry or end use by Indians. It sounds very strange that Pakistani cement companies in their own country avoid offering registration of standardisation and its process and certification by PSQCA.
According to an official source, one billion rupees are outstanding as marking fee dues against the cement industry for the last 10 years and due to power trading legislative provisions of the PSQCA Act are not taking their due course as required under the law.