Cement exports jump 21pc in July-November

Domestic cement sales during 5MFY20 rose by three per cent to 16.854 million tonnes while exports grew by 21.5pc to 3.608m tonnes. As a result, the overall cement despatches grew by 5.76pc to 20.462m tonnes.

On the other hand, in November, domestic sales rose by 5.11pc to 3.538m tonnes while exports swelled by 44pc to 0.808m tonnes. Overall cement despatches went up by 10.6pc to 4.346m tonnes.

Domestic consumption in the northern region amounted to 2.976m tonnes while 0.264m tonnes of cement were exported whereas in the southern region, the consumption stood at 0.562m tonnes and exports at 0.544m tonnes during November.

Cement consumption in the northern region rose by 11.32pc to 14.432m tonnes during the five months compared to same period last fiscal year. The region exported 1.214m tonnes during the same period, down 3pc compared to last year.

The southern region dispatched 29pc less cement for domestic consumption at 2.422m tonnes during the last five months as compared to same period last fiscal year. Exports during the same period showed 39.16pc growth to 2.394m tonnes.

All Pakistan Cement Manufacturer Association spokesperson said the cement industry is sitting on a huge unutilised capacity as against installed capacity of 59.65m tonnes it despatched only 46.88m tonnes last year.

This year, the total despatches at current pace might reach 49.11m tonnes leaving around 10.54m tonnes of capacity unutilised.

He urged the government to enhance cement consumption by replacing kiln bricks with concrete blocks. This would largely resolve the smog issue in central Punjab where brick kilns have to be closed in winter to control smog. They said brick kilns also erode the quality of soil and a shift to cemented blocks is in line with other developed economies.

“Government should start work on announced housing projects that will have a positive impact on uptake of construction materials including cement and create jobs for skilled and unskilled labor,” he added.

He appealed to the government to support the industry by minimising duties and taxes on cement in order to increase cement consumption.

Published in Dawn, December 5th, 2019