Higher taxes, rainy season hits cement sales


Early monsoon and commencement of Ramadan in the second week of July, impacted cement consumption adversely in the first month of the new fiscal year 2013-14, as cement dispatches overall, reduced by 7.84 percent.
A spokesman of All Pakistan Cement Manufacturers Association (APCMA) said that the lower consumption could also be the outcome of higher taxes imposed in the budget and increase in transportation charges due to strict compliance of axle load restrictions on the cement carriers. He said that these increases coincided with the advent of Ramadan when pace of construction declines.
Local sales, he added, recorded major decline of 10.43 percent while exports reduced by 0.75 percent. The total cement despatches in the first month of this fiscal stood at 2.595 million tons against despatch of 2.816 million tons in July 2012. The local sales amounted to 1.846 million tons of which, 1.506 million tons were despatched by mills located in the Northern region and 0.339 million tons from the South. The industry during the corresponding month of last year despatched 2.060 million tons of cement.
The total exports in July 2013 amounted to 0.749 million tons against 0.755 million tons in July 2012. Exports from the North declined from 0.615 million tons in July 2012 to 0.525 million tons in the first month of this fiscal. The exports from South however, registered healthy increase from 0.139 million tons in July last year to 0.224 million tons in the same month of this fiscal.
The spokesman expressed hope that sales would pick up in the coming months. He, however, urged the government to resolve the problem of high transportation cost to the industry.