ICCI wants Government to save cement industry

  • August 07, 2012
Local cement industry is in dire need of Government attention as Growth of cement industry is considered a major indicator of economic activity.
Yassar Sakhi Butt, President Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ICCI) expressed deep concern over decline of 1.64 percent in exports of cement compared with the dispatches achieved in last year July 2011.
He said that major factors responsible for a downturn in the industry include exorbitant increase in cost of fuel, high interest rates and low prices in international market. He said that increasing construction activity in the country could have positive effects on cement industry.
ICCI President said that cement is one the major commodities that is abundantly available in Pakistan and could be exported to neighbouring countries even through the land route. He said that Pakistan’s cement sector still faces non-tariff barrier at Indian borders, despite various measures taken by the government to enhance bilateral trade between two countries.
Yassar Sakhi Butt was of the view that cement export to India could take a quantum jump if the non tariff barriers are removed which would help maintain export growth to the neighbouring country as it is also a major importing country of Pakistani cement.
He said that the cement sector is contributing above Rs.30 billion to the national exchequer in the form of taxes and serving the nation by providing job opportunities to more than 150,000 people. Thus, there is a dire need that all cement units should operate at their maximum capacity and play its vital role in the building up the country’s economy as well as earn foreign exchange but it would only be possible if our neighbouring countries remove tariff and non-tariff barriers on Pakistani cement, he maintained.
ICCI President stressed the Government to explore new destinations for export of cement as Sri Lanka has also shown interest in importing huge quantity of cement from Pakistan every month. If the industry is able to avail the opportunity offered, it may secure a significant share of Sri Lanka market by supplying required quantity of cement annually, he added.