Saudi Arabia has decided to reduce customs duty on cement from the current level of five per cent to zero per cent within six months as part of a major move to check the rise in cement prices by liberalising imports. This was announced by the Minister of Commerce and Industry at the meeting of the board of directors of the Saudi Arabian Standards Organization (SASO) held yesterday under the chairmanship of Dr. Hashem Yamani.
Speaking to newsmen after the meeting, Dr. Yamani said that from October this year till March next there will be a 30-40 per cent additional increase in cement production to overcome the shortfall. "This should help meet the demand, " he said.
The minister clarified that it would, however, be a short-term measure and cement duty would return to the existing level of five percent after six months as in the other Gulf states to stabilize the market. The government had earlier slashed customs tariffs on cement imports from 20 to five per cent in an apparent move to bring down soaring prices in the market.