Lahore -  During the first eight months of this fiscal year (July 2016-Feb 2017), the domestic consumption of cement increased by 9.12 percent, but exports declined.

It is worth noting that the cement consumption during July-February period of this fiscal year increased by 8.26 percent in the North and by 13.15 percent in the Southern part of the country.

In contrast, the exports from North declined by only 2.98 percent compared with a decline of 18.21 percent in the South. Latest data shows that the country dispatched 26.339 million tonnes of cement showing an overall growth of 6.36 percent over the corresponding period of the last fiscal year.

Total cement consumption in February 2017 was 3.435 million tonnes that is 0.41 percent less than the consumption of 3.449 million tonnes during the corresponding month of last year.

The domestic cement consumption in February was 3.181 million tonnes, out of which 2.580 million tonnes was dispatched by the cement mills based in North and 0.601 million tonnes was dispatched by cement mills located in the Southern part of the country.

The increase in domestic consumption was 6.69 percent. Exports in February stood at 0.254 million tonnes that is 45.69 percent less than exports achieved in February 2016.

This should be a matter of concern for the authorities because in the past the mills located in South being nearer to sea were leading cement exporters.

Spokesman of APCMA said that Clinker and Cement were being manufactured locally and are abundantly available in Pakistan. It is surprising to note that the list of locally manufactured goods, as notified by the Federal Board of Revenue vide Custom General Order no 11 of 2007 dated August 28, 2007, does not include cement.

Secondly, the import of clinker and cement is liable to 10 percent and 20 percent of customs duty and due to cheap energy cost in neighbouring countries; low-grade quality cement is being dumped in the Pakistani market.