LAHORE-The All Pakistan Cement Manufacturers Association (APCMA) has condemned operation carried out at its office and that of a member and the ensuing harassment and intimidation of officers and staff by the staff of the Competition Commission of Pakistan (CCP) the other day.

The forcible entry of the CCP team, and subsequent action can only serve to damage the atmosphere of investment revival and growth that the present government has striven hard to create. Personal property, including mobile telephones of the staff present at the APCMA office and at the office of a member mill were appropriated without lawful authority. It is apprehended that the items unlawfully appropriated will be tampered with or used selectively, out of context, to malign chosen individuals or companies.

Spokesman said that the APCMA and its member have regularly provided to the CCP all information that has been required. The stated basis of the unwarranted operation on 24.09.2020 is a matter of utmost concern, not only for the cement industry but for all businesses in the country. It has been stated that the action of 24.09.2020 was carried out because of an increase in the market price of cement since April 2020, even though the cost of some items such as fuel has fallen since then. 

The premise that market price of cement or any other item is linked to the cost of production through some simple cost-plus formula betrays a complete lack of understanding of market dynamics and the market determination of price. Market price is determined by the forces of supply and demand and not by variations in the cost of production alone. Cement produced by different manufacturers being a largely homogeneous commodity cannot exhibit significant difference in price across the various brands. This basic fact has also been lost sight of by the CCP.

The cement industry of Pakistan has made large investments into plant expansion and modernization over the last five years. This has led to the cement industry being in a position to play a dynamic role in public interest infrastructure projects, such as the Basha and Mohmand Dams, as well as the revival of the construction sector in general.