Minister for Industries and Production Jahangir Tareen has taken serious notice of quantum jump in cement prices and summoned the manufacturers on February 10 to justify their action.
The cement prices had gone from Rs 200 to Rs 275 per bag during the last one week at retail level and the consumers do not see any relief in the coming days as demand always remains on the rise in February/March. Short supply and rumours of more increase in the rates are making things happen for the profiteers.
The market had witnessed the highest cement prices in the last moths of the last year when the rates went up to Rs 150 at retail market. This invited sharp reaction from the government, which allowed duty free import of cement.
There are apprehensions that quick increase in the prices will adversely hit the construction industry and also slow down the pace of work at the mega project launched by the government.
The profiteers give an impression that the construction activities get momentum from the first week of February and the recent increase in cement prices was a seasonal phenomenon. The cement prices were ranging between Rs 195 and 200 a bag till January 31, but they started showing upward trend from the first week of the current month.