KARACHI: During the first six months of the current fiscal year, cement shipments rose by 16 percent to 28,628 million tonnes, compared with 24,751 million tonnes during the same time last year, as reported on Monday by the All Pakistan Cement Manufacturers Association (APCMA).
Cement sales increased by 11.18pc in December to 4.788m tonnes from 4.306m tonnes in December 2019.
Local cement dispatches in the north area rose 16.21pc to 20.228m tonnes during July-December, compared to 17.406m tonnes in the same time last year.
In the last six months of the current fiscal year, exports from the north decreased by 15 percent to 1,210 million tonnes from 1,420 million tonnes over the same time last fiscal year.
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Domestic cement shipments in the southern region rose by 14 percent to 3,381 million tonnes between July and December, from 2,966 million tonnes in the same period last fiscal year. From 2,957m tonnes during 6MFY20, exports swelled by 29pc to 3,806m tonnes.
The explanation for decrease in exports from south for the last two months is due to heavy congestion at ports and as per the directives of the government, the priority berthing is given to imports of wheat, sugar and canola vessels, the APCMA spokesman said.
This triggers a significant loss of cement and clinker exports from the country as customers divert their ships to other destinations in the area to load cement and clinker at both ports in Karachi due to severe congestion, he said.
He said the cement industry wants a level-playing field and requested the government that exports be prioritised so that industry can gain maximum foreign exchange for the country.
Meanwhile, local cement dispatches rose to 4,154 million tonnes during December, compared to 3,536 million tonnes in December 2019, representing a leap of 17.47pc.
However, monthly exports plummeted to 633,431 tonnes, compared with 769,986 tonnes in December 2019.
Domestic cement dispatches were 17.09pc higher at 3.471m tonnes in the northern area during December from 2.964m tonnes in December 2019. Exports from the north plummeted from 0.206m tonnes in December 2019 by 40.52pc to 0.123m tonnes in December.
Domestic cement dispatches increased by 19.47pc to 682,854 tonnes in the southern region during December from 571,558 tonnes in December 2019. In December, exports from the southern region decreased by 9.36pc to 0.510m tonnes from 0.563m tonnes in December 2019.
The spokesman for APCMA said the growing trend in the price of gas, electricity and diesel is also affecting the cement industry. The price of coal has jumped by almost $35 a tonne over the past six months.
In the other hand, the cement sector’s duties and taxes are still very high. At Rs1,500 per tonne (Rs75 per bag) and 17pc general sales tax, cement is subject to the Federal Excise Duty (Rs77 per bag).
The gross direct cement tax per bag amounts to Rs152 per bag.
He urged the government to offer tax exemptions to the cement industry that would reduce production costs and improve development and job activities in the sector.
For major sectors such as tobacco, cement, sugar and fertiliser, the Federal Board of Revenue is now in the process of introducing a Track and Trace Scheme.
The association has already asked the government to enforce the framework on cement sector as this will help to encourage level-playing field and raise revenues for the country by curbing any tax evasion, APCMA spokesman said.