LAHORE - All Pakistan Cement Manufacturers Association (APCMA) has urged the government to support the industry by placing anti-dumping duty on the Iranian cement and reducing taxes to make the cement more affordable for consumers, which will increase its demand and result in capacity enhancement of the industry, thus creating more job opportunities.

The APCMA spokesperson said that cement was one of the most technologically advanced industries of Pakistan that needed the government’s support. He said that Pakistan has most efficient cement industry that has made inroads even into the Indian market despite tariff and non-tariff trade barriers. If the government is interested in reducing the cement rates then it should reduce the levies on domestic production, he proposed.

He warned the government to realise that inroads in Pakistani markets by foreign brands through illegal channels would encourage them to increase this activity which is getting out of control, especially since no authority is even bothered to check the quality of imports as is done on our exports going to India, Sri Lanka and African countries. He said that in December 2017, exports decreased by 11.25 percent to 0.328 million tons as compared to 0.369 million tons in December last year, whereas local dispatches increased by 6.82 percent from 3.185 million tons in December 2016 to 3.403 million tons in December 2017.

He said the cement industry is performing in stiff regulatory environment and is only surviving because it has upgraded its technology, providing it the strength to take any challenge. The industry stakeholders said that our quality is the best in the region and our efficiency is second to none. No cement could compete with Pakistani cement if imported at real and fair value after paying all government levies. However, weak border controls and lax customs vigilance allow entry of cement from across our borders at unfair valuations hurting the local cement industry, they added.