Pakistan has lifted a ban on the export of cement to neighbouring war-battered country Afghanistan, but has increased its custom duties. Representatives of cement manufacturer companies said Tuesday they had been allowed to export cement to Afghanistan with raising custom duty that would soar prices in war-torn country.
As long as export of cement to the central Asian country was free of tax, its prices were quite normal, the manufacturers said. The ban was imposed on April 6 and was valid till early May. The reason behind banning export to this landlocked country was the October 8 earthquake that levelled villages in Azad Kashmir and Balakot. Pakistan halted export of cement to Afghanistan to reconstruct the ruined valley of Azad Kashmir.
A second aim behind banning export of cement to Afghanistan was bringing down its increasing prices in Pakistan. A worker at the Cherat Cement Factory in Peshawar, Rafiullah Afridi, told Pajhwok Afghan News they resumed exporting cements to Afghanistan from Tuesday after informing Pakistani officials.
A cement trader in Peshawar, Aabid Zadran, also said the ban had been lifted and they started back exporting cements to Afghanistan, but prices run higher there with the new start.
A bag of Cherat cement was Rs 303 and Lucky Rs 297 in Pakistan, but it jumped to almost 400 for its greater demand in the country. The move is expected to be welcomed by Afghanistan which has earlier requested for lifting the ban. Afghan cement trader Muhammad Idris said lifting of ban was a good news but high taxes had worried them. He said all traders were unhappy with the tax because it would affect its market in Afghanistan.