LAHORE - In a positive sign for industry, which has been suffering due to constant decline in exports for a long time, the cement exports have registered an increase of around 19 percent in February 2018 as compared to the corresponding month of previous year.,

According to the data of the All Pakistan Cement Manufacturers Association (APCMA), the volume of increase in exports is higher even than the local consumption for the first time in current fiscal year.

Data shows that the exports from North based mills amounted to 0.18 million tons and from South based mills was 0.12 million tons. The increase in exports was about 19 percent compared with an increase of 10 percent recorded in domestic consumption. The capacity utilization in the first eight months of this fiscal was 91.34 percent of the total installed capacity of the cement sector. During this fiscal, the cement dispatches have crossed 3 million tons in the eight months period. This is an increase of almost 4 million tons during the period.

In the month of February, the total cement dispatches were 3.781 million tons. Out of this, dispatches in the North were 3.052 million tons while cement dispatches in Southern part amounted to 0.729 million tons.

The spokesman of APCMA, expressing concerns over high taxation, said that during the year 2016-17, per ton impact of duties and taxes was Rs 3,082 i.e. Rs 154 per bag. This incidence of high taxation negatively affects domestic consumption.

Presently, FED on cement is Rs 1,250 per ton i.e. Rs 62.5 per bag. He, attributing domestic growth in the sector to the policies of the government and its thrust on mega infrastructure projects, said that the local production could increase substantially if the smuggling of this commodity from Iranian border is checked.