LAHORE - Amidst robust growth in local consumption in the first four months of fiscal year 2017-18, the cement industry utilised over 93 percent of its installed capacity .

Industry experts said that this is the highest capacity utilisation by the industry in the last 20 years. However, 1.08 million tons capacity still remained idle, which could have been covered by exports if the government policies are export-friendly. They said that higher cement consumption does not mean that the economic planners ignore the genuine difficulties faced by this sector. They said the industry is performing in stiff regulatory environment and is only surviving because it has upgraded its technology that has provided it the strength to take any challenge head on.

According to statistics, the cement demand in the North Zone remained surprisingly very high as the consumption in the region stood at 3.148 million tons during October 2017. It was for the first time that North Zone has consumed more than three million tons cement in a month. In October 2016 the domestic cement consumption in the North Zone was 2.489 million tons. The demand in the Southern region of the country also increased from 0.519 million tons in October 2016 to 0.631 million tons in October 2017.

They said that Pakistan quality is the best in the region and efficiency is second to none. No cement could compete with Pakistani cement if imported at real and fair value after paying all government levies. However, weak border controls and lax customs vigilance allow entry of cement from across our borders at unfair valuations hurting the local cement industry .