LAHORE : In view of destruction and large displacement of citizens from terror prone areas there would be greater need for cement in these remote areas when rehabilitation process starts. However, according to industry stakeholders, the placement of cement in Schedule 3 of sales tax act would be an impediment in supply of cement to these remote areas like North Waziristan at reasonable rates. They suggested the government to act in time to ensure availability of this essential commodity to the displaced persons at cheaper rates by taking this commodity out of schedule 3.
They noted that the recent federal budget has added to the worries of the industry as government has imposed 1 per cent duty on imported coal. They said that coal is the only fuel on which import duty has been imposed which is a direct injustice to the cement industry as the sector is the main user of imported coal and consumes almost 95 per cent of the 4.5 million tons annual imports. Due to unavailability of gas, other industries have switched to coal and many others are also converting to coal, so this custom duty is to nullify the positive initiative of the government to use coal as an alternate energy source.