LAHORE - The All Pakistan Cement Manufacturers Association (APCMA) has condemned the illegal import of cement from Iran and tax evasions at import stage by misdeclaration which is seriously affecting the cement industry, and urged the government to stop this trade immediately.

APCMA spokesman said that unfortunately, the quantity of cement being imported from Iran has been found understated on the Customs “Goods Declaration” form resulting in a substantial loss to the national exchequer. This is all done through collusion of dealers with Customs department’s officials and transporters - not all the tax is being paid on the import of the Iranian cement.

He said a road trailer entering Pakistan via the Taftan border carried up to 60 tons of cement though proper taxation had never been carried out since the quantity mentioned in the Goods Declaration form differed from the actual weight of the consignment.

He further said, “At present the country’s surplus cement production capacity is more than 20 million tons per annum and it is coming under further pressure because of the illegal import of the cement. It is not only damaging the local industry but also through misdeclaration giving a substantial loss to the national exchequer.”

He urged the government to intervene and take effective steps to stop the illegal cement import and protect the local cement industry by including cement in negative list of import items so that the country’s surplus production capacity could be used to the maximum. “This will help to increase the economic growth in the country and will also curb malpractices at different levels,” he added.