LAHORE - Advisor to Prime Minister for Commerce, Textile, Industry and Investment Abdul Razak Dawood has said that presently six new cement plants are underway in Pakistan and it is expected that this sector will push its export figures to one billion dollars mark very soon from the existing level of $600 million.  Addressing an international cement conference in Lahore on Tuesday, he said everyone will have to play role for national and economic development. The conference was organised by the INTERCEM in collaboration with the All Pakistan Cement Manufacturers Association.

He said that cement sector is playing a great role in creating employment opportunities and infrastructural developments. He said that the government is striving hard to promote export culture in the country to reverse the process of deindustrialization. The Adviser said the government is committed to facilitate the business community as no nation can progress unless it pursues export driven strategy.  “The world has started giving positive vibes for Pakistan and number of export orders are on a rise”, Dawood said, adding that participation of INTERCEM and delegations from twenty countries in cement conference is the signal that investors are now looking towards Pakistan.

He further said that Pakistan is working on free trade agreements with different countries especially China. We are hopeful to complete the second FTA with China by June next year, he said. He emphasized the need to focus on Made in Pakistan culture as it will make the country self-sufficient. “Pakistanis should work on increasing export volume as it is the only method to attain a sustainable economy”, he said, adding that we are trying to give a level playing field to all export oriented industries by providing them energy at lower tariffs. He said that China Pakistan Economic Corridor led projects have further fueled the sectors performance and industry’s output at a record level.

The first day of international cement conference was attended by key industry players both from domestic and international markets. Currently more than 250 delegates from twenty countries including Germany, Switzerland, France, UK, China, India, Iran are attending this mega event and are looking for partnerships with Pakistani cement manufacturers either to provide industry related technical assistance or exploring the new export markets. He categorically denied the rumors of granting India, the most favorite nation status.

Farid Fazal, Senior Vice Chairman APCMA, said that this is the golden opportunity for Pakistan to increase its export markets. “Pakistani cement is of best quality; however the great difficulty we faced over the period of time was to bring global players to Pakistan”, he said, adding that now when global players are here, the industry can fulfill governments dream by adding value to our products and finding new export markets for Pakistani cement sector.