Govt urged to encourage cement exports

Govt urged to encourage cement exports
Published: 29 November 2006

Cement manufacturers in Pakistan have demanded  the government to facilitate exports with a view to augmenting foreign exchange earnings.

Talking to newsmen here on Tuesday, the Chairman of All Pakistan Cement Manufacturers Association, Sheikh Aizaz regretted that federal government was not encouraging cement exports that could easily be enhanced manifold. He added, “Unjustified levy of excise duty was a major hurdle in this regard.”

He was of the view that imposition of excise duty had always been aimed at restricting use of certain products. But, he added, it is incomprehensible that excise duty has been imposed on cement, which is being produced in the country in abundance. He lamented that recent increase in the rate of royalty on mining would increase cost of production due to consequent rise in limestone price.

Despite non-cooperative gesture of the government, APCMA chief said, cement manufacturers have been able to export around one million tonnes of cement last year. He informed that major buyers of cement had been Afghanistan and Middle Eastern countries. “If government takes pro-industry steps, the volume of cement exports can increase substantially besides capturing various new markets,” he opined.

About decline in price of cement, Sheikh Aizaz said that cement bag is being sold in the market for a price ranging between Rs175 and Rs190, which is the lowest in last several months. He claimed that cement manufactures are facing loss of up to Rs40 per bag due to slump in its prices.

To a question, he said, cement manufacturers have not convened any meeting on (Tuesday) to discuss issues relating to the industry.