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 on Saturday that cement was one of the most technologically advanced industries of Pakistan that needed government’s support.

He was of the view that in the current scenario, the suggestion given by some people that the import duty be abolished would hit the national kitty and industry both.

“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 expressed concern over falling exports to Afghanistan that have declined in the first six months of this fiscal year by 11.72 percent.

He pointed out the need for cutting down duties and taxes to bring down the prices and facilitate consumers.

He opined that this would also help industry to grow as it was playing a vital role in the development of the country.

“In the last fiscal budget, the government had increased taxes on cement from Rs600 to Rs1,000 along with sales tax of 17 percent, while industry previously paid Rs2,492 per ton. Now this difference in tax increase will augment government revenue further from Rs2,492 per ton to around Rs. 3,250 per ton,” APCMA spokesperson said, and added, “The industry had paid approximately Rs83 billion in 2015-16, and is amongst the highest contributors to the national exchequer since it pays Rs189 billion in taxes.”