LAHORE - All Pakistan Cement Manufacturers Association (APCMA) has said that consumers will have to bear the burden of increased input costs of cement manufacturing. And it is only the government, which can provide relief to the consumers by cutting down or abolishing the central excise duty. According to a press release reached here on Tuesday, the spokesman of the APCMA said that any setback to the cement industry will play havoc with the general consumers. Commenting on builders' concerns on rising prices of cement in Pakistan, the spokesman pointed out that the APCMA has repeatedly been pointing out that cost to make and sell cement has shot up to Rs 375.60 per bag in 2008 comparing with Rs. 228.21 per bag in 2007, which is unprecedented but is based on facts. Main component of cost to make the cement is fuel. Pakistan's cement industry has converted their plants to coal considering it to be the cheapest fuel but its price in international markets has gone up by more than 300% in last one year. Electricity rates have also been increased. The combined cost of fuel and power comes to Rs. 152.28. Government taxes and levies are Rs. 96 per bag and these three items alone cost around Rs. 250 per bag. Add to this are cost of transportation, financial charges, cost of imported spare parts, cost of paper and sacks (around Rs. 17/bag) and salaries and wages etc. The total cost per bag comes to more than Rs. 370 per bag. The spokesman said demand of cement cuts down heavily during rainy weather in the country, which directly affects the running cost of a unit. It is only the rising levels of cement exports, which are sustaining the industry. Instead of appreciating the marketing skills of cement entrepreneurs to explore new markets for Pakistani cement, the cement industry is being pressurized constantly without realizing that any reduction in cement exports from Pakistan will not only deprive country of foreign exchange of $2 billion but will also result in loss to the industry. APCMA spokesman said that the cement industry in Pakistan is committed to ensure that there is no shortage of cement in Pakistan. He also mentioned that in spite of escalation in input costs, cement in Pakistan is still the cheapest in the region.