LAHORE -  The All Pakistan Cement Manufacturers Association (APCMA) has said that weak border controls and lax customs vigilance have been allowing entry of cement from Iran at unfair valuations, hurting the local cement industry.

This association urged the government to support the industry by placing anti-dumping duty on the Iranian cement and reducing taxes to make the cement more affordable for consumers, which will increase its demand and result in capacity enhancement of the industry, thus creating more job opportunities.

The APCMA spokesperson said that cement was one of the most technologically advanced industries of Pakistan that needed the government’s support. “Pakistan quality is the best in the region and our efficiency is second to none. No cement could compete with Pakistani cement if imported at real and fair value after paying all government levies,” he added.

He pointed out the need for cutting down duties and taxes to bring down the prices and facilitate consumers. He opined that this would also help industry to grow as it was playing a vital role in the development of the country. He expressed concern over constant cut in exports, saying rise in cement exports to Afghanistan was offset by decline of 11.61 percent and 18.95 percent, respectively, in exports to India and other countries by sea which stood at 0.122 and 0.144 million tons respectively in July 2017, going down from 0.138 million tons and 0.178 million tons in July last year. The government should lower excise duty on the sector to further boost despatches. In the same way the import duty on coal imported by the sector should be brought at par with other sectors.