PESHAWAR: Due to low export to Afghanistan and Central Asian republics, the cement prices have declined by Rs10-20 per 50-kg bag to an average of Rs550 from the level of Rs560-570 in northern parts of the country because of multiple reasons. However, prices in southern region remain intact at an average of Rs580 per bag.
The market sources told Customs Today that the prices have come down due to low demand as construction work is not in progress these days; however the southern area, where weather is normal, is reflecting higher rates of commodities high.
The industry stakeholders have stressed the need for reduction in duties and taxes to bring down the prices of cement so as to facilitate the consumers which also helps industry to grow.
The industry not only absorbed 11.7 percent duty on coal import but also increased coal price from $54 in May 2016 to $105 now so they are fleecing the consumers blatantly, industry stakeholders said. Even with higher taxes and input cost, the cement rates in the country are cheaper than neighbouring India (around $4.85 to $5.35) and Sri Lanka ($5.84 to $6.14).
The strength and quality of Pakistani cement is superior to that of cement produced in neighbouring countries. This is the reason that Pakistan exports cement to almost all its neighbours. “The factors, contributing to decline in exports, include increase in fuel prices and other input cost. And the most damaging is the barriers erected by the countries we export to such as anti-dumping duty imposed by South Africa to protect its local industry,” industry stakeholders maintained.
Moreover, to discourage imports, the tariff is around 19 percent in India including 3 percent education cess to promote education in the country, which makes it difficult to compete with other exporting countries which have lesser input cost, they added. Albeit there is a strong growth in the cement dispatches yet a continuous decline in exports is being observed over the last few years.