LAHORE -  The APCMA has criticized the additional increase in cost of production due to an unexpected imposition of exorbitant Gas Infrastructure Development Cess (GIDC) by the government.

“The construction sector has increased its per square foot charges at least by 400 per cent during last 10 years on the plea of ever increasing cost and high inflation in the country,” stated a spokesman of the APCMA.

He said that the builders cry foul when cement prices are increased but they ignore the fact that they have increased the per square foot construction charges by four times in last one decade.

In a statement, he expressed surprise over the double standards adopted by various sectors as they continue increasing their cost of goods and services while targeting the cement industry.

The spokesman said that since the last few months, cost of production of cement has rapidly gone up due to increase in transportation cost, rise in electricity tariff, hike in interest rates and fast pace of Pak rupee devaluation plus increase in gas prices. In addition to this, one of the major reason attributing to cement price increase is the impractical decision made by government in last budget through which the cement industry has been brought within the purview of ‘3rd Schedule’ to Sales Tax Act 1990 that has increased the overall tax burden.

The spokesman further pointed out that in August last year; power tariff for industrial consumers has been increased by almost 46pc to Rs15.31 from Rs10.51 per unit whereas Time-Of-Day rate was increased by 35pc to Rs18.81 from Rs. 13.99 per unit. The off-peak rate of this category jumped up by 62pc to Rs13.31 from Rs8.22. This has also substantially raised the cost of production of cement. The packaging cost has also increased due to new taxes being imposed on import of sack kraft paper.