The government rejected on Thursday the demand of cement manufacturers to immediately change the policy on import and export of cement and informed the All Pakistan Cement Manufacturers Association (APCMA) that the current policy would remain intact unless the cement price came down to the level of Rs 290 per bag.
“Rs 290 should be the maximum price of a bag of cement,” said Minister for Industries, Production and Special Initiatives Jahangir Khan Tareen at a meeting with cement manufacturers at the ministry. The APCMA strongly rejected the current policy of the government and said the government is benefiting foreign manufacturers and damaging the domestic industry.
The meeting was informed that government’s efforts to arrest the upward trend in cement prices have started giving results and now cement prices are on decline with every passing day. The decision to allow the import of cement and ban export of the commodity has successfully broken the speculative surge in its prices.
Kamran Rasool, Secretary Ministry of Industries, other senior officers of the ministry, and Member Customs Central Board Revenue Shahid Rahim Sheikh attended the meeting. According to an official statement, the meeting was called to review and discuss cement prices and related issues.
Issues such as the freight subsidy on cement import and the ban on its exports also came under discussion during the meeting. The minister told the meeting that the government does not want the domestic industry to suffer and if cement prices are kept at affordable and reasonable levels, the government will consider all the genuine demands of APCMA.
The cement manufacturers assured the minister that they would guarantee that the retail price of cement does not exceed from Rs 285-90 per bag. Mr Tareen appreciated this move of the APCMA and again assured that the interests of the domestic industry will be safeguarded. At the end minister appreciated the APCMA for expanding its capacity and urged it to increase production so that the domestic needs are met locally.