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Pakistan loses major cement market share in Afghanistan

LAHORE:     Pakistan has been losing major share of its market
in Afghanistan to Iranian cement, as the high energy cost has made the
cement more expensive.

Rejecting the massive increase in gas and
electricity rates, which had been notified for implementation from July
under an agreement with the International Monetary Fund, the industry
stakeholders said the cost of doing business continued to increase
manifold, leading to constant decline in exports and high trade deficit.
The government had announced an increase in electricity prices by Rs1.50
per unit and gas prices by up to 168.36% last month, which was severely
damaging the industry.*

*They said that in less than 40 days after increasing gas tariff by up to
200 per cent, the government has now hiked minimum gas charges by 39pc for
almost all consumer categories. The minimum gas charges are payable by
every consumer irrespective of consumption levels. This also means that
even a closed premises having gas connection but zero consumption is
required to pay this charge. The minimum rates for registered manufacturers
or exporters and their captive powers, including textile, jute, carpets,
leather, sports and surgical goods, have also been increased by 38.6pc to
Rs28,060 per month from Rs20,232.*

*The cement industry stakeholders urged the government to increase custom
duty on import of clinker to support the local manufacturers, besides
reducing cost of doing business in the country to encourage the local sale.*

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