LAHORE    -   All Pakistan Cement Dealers Association continued strike on Thursday to protest against high taxes and FBR restrictions of documentation of sales, cutting down supply in parts of the country.

Business community feared halt in construction activities if the strike prolonged. At the same time, the prevailing scenario would lead to huge loss of revenue to the government.

Dealers Association and manufacturers will hold talks on Friday (today) to resolve the issue. The Association had held separate meetings with the manufacturers and Minister for Industry and Trade on last Tuesday which remained inconclusive. Office bearers of the association said that there were hopes of resolution of the issue in meeting with the manufacturers on Friday.

According to estimates, the government is losing revenues of Rs350 to Rs400 million daily due to the cement crisis. The strike has gravely cut down the cement supply resulting in worst scenario for the sector as total daily dispatches slashed from 150,000 tonnes to 40,000 tonnes.

The industry has already been marred with issues like gas price hike, axle load limitations, smuggling of Iranian cement, increase in FED etc.

“Now the conditions imposed by FBR on distributors is further deteriorating the situation as the cement dealers and distributors have refused to pick up cement sacks from the factories,” the sources added.

Cement industry contributed Rs110 bn to national exchequer in last fiscal but this would considerably decrease due to economic condition which has severely dented the cement sales.