APCMA seeks govt help to save cement industry
All Pakistan Cement Manufacturers Association (APCMA) has appealed the government to remove bottlenecks impacting cement industry, as four out of 22 units have been shut down and the rest are on the verge of collapse due to mounting losses. APCMA spokesman said cement manufacturers have yet to pass on large impact of rapidly increasing input costs in coal, electricity, diesel, paper sacks and transportation cost. Current cement rates range from Rs 340 to Rs 355 per bag in different markets. Inflationary pressures in the past three years impacted rates of every item but cement industry has not been able to pass on impact of increased cost to consumers due to stiff competition among manufacturers and surplus capacity particularly in north of the country. He said construction activity has come to a standstill due to a drastic cut in development expenditure and increase in cement rates would further impact whatever activities are taking place. Government levies account for 30 per cent price of 50 kg cement bag. "These levies are highest in the region. They include federal, provincial excise duties amounting to Rs 37 per bag which is unjustified, over and above, GST at 17 per cent, ie, Rs 45 per bag. In total, government levies exceed Rs 80 per bag." He said governments world over encourage use of cement as it is major component in construction activities and construction sector is the biggest employer of semi- and unskilled labour force of any economy. The removal of excise duty would improve the viability of industry, as instead of raising cement rates, industry will be able to maintain prevailing rates and give boost to construction business.