LAHORE - Cement industry has urged FBR to exclude cement from the third schedule sales tax act which has resultantly increased the cost of the cement and is burdening the pocket of consumers.

“The govt can provide the needed respite to both the cement industry and the consumers by considering recommendations that were promulgated by the industry in its budget proposals for the year 2013 to 2014,” said the APCMA spokesperson.  It will also prove beneficial in reducing the cement prices hence increasing consumption and government revenues eventually. He explained that it is in the larger interest to revive the old practice of selling cement through the wholesale mechanism and sales tax collection on ex-factory prices for different market areas as dynamics of every province and region is different in Pakistan.

Representatives of cement industry had detailed meetings with Chairman FBR explaining the cement dynamics with the request to remove cement from 3rd Schedule. Chairman FBR however categorically refused to remove cement from 3rd Schedule but said that they will surely help out the industry by making two zones – north zone and south zone in the country allowing separate MRPs for each zone. Unfortunately this decision has not been implemented till date and no SRO has been issued.

This is a very serious issue impacting growth of cement industry and resulting in high prices to the end user ultimately increasing the construction cost.