LAHORE -  The cement industry dispatched 2.727 million tons of cement in June 2017 against dispatches of 3.351 million tons in June 2016.

The statistics released by the All Pakistan Cement Manufacturers Association (APCMA) revealed that for the first time in 11 months cement dispatches declined below 3 million tons. The steep decline in domestic demand eroded the excellent growth that the cement sector registered in past 11 months. It was on the strength of that demand in the domestic market that the industry was able to dispatch record 40.315 million tons of cement during the fiscal year 2016-17. This was 3.71 percent higher than 38.873 million tons cement dispatched during year 2015-16.

Industry experts are worried because the entire industry is depending on domestic uptake of cement as the exports have been on constant decline for the last two years. They urged the government to withdraw the tax imposed on cement this year besides withdrawing duty on import of coal to ensure sustained growth of the sector. They said the new taxes imposed on construction related materials including cement would result in negative growth of construction sector.

According to statistics, during the last fiscal year, domestic cement dispatches by north zone mills were 29.141 million tons and export dispatches were 3.150 million tons, depicting a growth of 7.72 percent and negative growth of 18.22 percent respectively. Domestic cement dispatches by south zone mills were 6.511 million tons and export dispatches were 1.514 million tons, depicting a growth of 9.47 percent and negative growth of 25.10 percent respectively. The overall growth in cement dispatches during last year was a mere of 3.71 percent.