The price of a cement bag should not be less than Rs 300 if one compares it with the cost of production of the industry, said All Pakistan Cement Manufacturers Association (APCMA) Chairman Aizaz Sheikh.
“Both the consumers and the government should appreciate the cement manufacturers for keeping prices below Rs 300 per bag,” he said, adding: “The industry would try to maintain the cement prices between Rs 250 to Rs 300 per bag.”
Mr Sheikh was talking to Daily Times over the latest controversy regarding the fixation of cement price at Rs 260 per bag.
The critics of the cement industry in the construction industry have criticised the industry for cartelisation. They have mentioned that the limited size of the industry, less dependency on exports and no direct conflict with the farmers like in the textile and sugar industry have provided an opportunity to the cement manufacturers to manipulate the market.
They have also criticised the industries minister for agreeing on Rs 260 per bag of cement and from Rs180 per bag. Similarly, the role of the Monopoly Control Authority is also under severe attack for its silence over the exploitation of the consumers.
The parliament has taken notice of the sudden rise in cement prices and a meeting of the stakeholders is being organised on Feb 20 to look into the situation in detail. Meanwhile, the consumers rights associations have also strongly criticised latest price hike in cement.
Responding to the criticism, APCMA chairman said he would level similar allegations against the construction industry, which formed a cartel on the Mangla Dam construction and Motorway-2 (Peshawar) construction.
According to him, he would love to exchange any of the unit of APCMA members with any one of the leading construction firms like Husnain Cotex and SKB.