LAHORE - The cement domestic sale has registered a growth of around 13.71 percent to 13.709 million tons during the first five months of the current fiscal year as compared to the same period of last fiscal year.

According to latest figures of the All Pakistan Cement Manufacturers Association (APCMA), the cement mills located in the northern part of the country dispatched 11.305 million tons for domestic consumption and 1.702 million tons for export, reflecting a growth of 11.05 percent and 4.30 percent respectively. The cement mills based in the southern part of the country dispatched 2.404 million tons of cement for domestic use and 0.839 million tons for export, reflecting a growth of 17.49 percent and decline of 9.72 percent respectively.

According to the data, the domestic consumption of cement in November 2016 was 3.270 million tons as compared to 2.843 million tons of same month of last year. Cement industry dispatched 16.251 million tons of cement during July-November 2016, which is 9.89 percent higher than 14.788 million tons cement dispatched during the corresponding period of last fiscal.

Experts said that the industry has been observing a decline in the exports since the beginning of this fiscal year and the worst of that is seen in November this year where total export dispatches were 0.479 million tons, which is 10.35 percent lower than 0.534 in November 2015.

They stated that exports are likely to remain under pressure as Afghan market is penetrated by Iran and export by sea is on the decline where as exports to India have a positive trend.

They urged the government to support the industry by cutting the taxes which will decrease the cement prices as well as increase the demand of cement and result in capacity enhancement of the industry creating more job opportunities.

They expressed satisfaction at the continued growth in domestic cement dispatches. They said that even the crisis in the property sector has not impacted construction activities. The huge infrastructure projects undertaken by both federal and provincial governments is icing on the cake. They said consumption of cement has increased across the board more so in South where the general perception is that the activities are slow.