Cement exports sliding for the last five years to Afghanistan

Cement exports sliding for the last five years to Afghanistan
02 January 2019

Export of cement from Pakistan to Afghanistan through land routes has started dwindling from the fiscal year 2010-11. During that period it was hovering at 4.715Mt and made Afghanistan a leading importer of Pakistan cement.

According to the All Pakistan Cement Manufacturers Association(APCMA), since then, exports have started sliding and reached to 2.439Mt in 2015-16, 1.716Mt in 2016-17 and 1.820Mt in 2017-18, whereas, exports in the five months of 2018-19 stood at 808,045t for Afghanistan.

Aizaz Sheikh CEO of Kohat Cement, saidnthe exports to Afghanistan through the Torkhum border have decreased sharply, while security checks and delays in customs at the border are hurting exports. Security checks are necessary but the government should take steps for the quick processing of export consignments, he suggested.

Government in action is also hampering the growth of the cement sector owing to smuggling of Iranian cement into the country which continues unabated, hurting not only the local industry but government revenues as well. The government is losing almost PKR180/bag (US$1.28/bag) in terms of duties and taxes which the local industry pays.

Even legal import of Iranian cement should not be allowed until Pakistan Standards and Quality Control Authority certifies the quality of cement being imported, Aizaz Sheikh remarked. He also urged the government to eliminate federal excise duty on cement as it is not a luxury item.

A spokesman of the APCMA in a monthly statement earlier pointed out that the northern region is exporting cement to Afghanistan and Indian markets have not benefited from rupee depreciation because of political reasons.

Published under Cement News