KARACHI: Cement despatches to local markets during July-March 2014-2015 rose by 8.43 per cent to 20.34 million tonnes as compared to 18.76m tonnes in same period in the last fiscal year.
However, export in the last nine months declined by 9.58pc to 5.44m tonnes as compared to the same period in the last fiscal year.
In March 2015, cement despatches to the local market went up by around four per cent to 2.56m tonnes as compared to 2.46m tonnes in the same period last year.
Exports during March 2015 plunged by 39pc to 443,000 tonnes as against 726,000 tonnes during March 2014.
A spokesman for the All-Pakistan Cement Manufacturers Association (APCMA) said cement exports have been declining during the current fiscal year.
In Afghanistan, the situation is alarming as total exports dropped to 2.06m tonnes during nine months of the current fiscal year as against 2.75m tonnes during the same period in the last fiscal year.
He said another major issue impacting cement industry was illegal import of commodity from Iran and tax-evasions at import stage through misdeclaration.
The spokesman said that quantity of cement import has been found understated on the Customs “Goods Declaration Form” resulting in substantial loss to the national exchequer.
He suspected collusion of dealers with the Customs officials and transporters. Full taxes are not being paid on import of Iranian cement, he added.
A vehicle entering Pakistan via Taftan border carries up to 60 tonnes of cement. Proper taxation is not carried out as quantity mentioned in Goods Declaration Form differs from the actual weight of the consignment.
The transporter issues two different documents, one for the Customs and the real one for freight purposes, he said.
At present country’s surplus cement production capacity is more than 20 million tonnes per annum and it is coming under pressure due to illegal import of Iranian cement.
He urged the government to intervene and stop illegal import of cement, and also to include cement in the negative list of importable items to save the industry.