Lahore-The All Pakistan Cement Manufacturers Association has urged the government to take further measures to encourage domestic construction sector which is the main source of employment to the non-skilled workforce of the country.

The industry hopes that the slow growth in domestic consumption is a one off phenomenon, triggered by the new property valuation policy of the government. The industry experts expect the domestic consumption to pick up once the valuation issue is settled or factored in by the investors. The growth in demand on infrastructure projects continued unabated, however, the government should avoid disruptive policies that impact construction growth in the country.

During the month of September 2016, exports to Afghanistan increased nominally from 0.223 million tons in September 2015 to 0.228 million tons in September 2016 showing a growth of 2 percent. However, exports to India registered healthy increase from 0.055 million tons in September last year to 0.112 million tons during the same month this year, showing growth of 101 percent. Exports to India are mainly through Wahga border and southern coast of India. According to data released by All Pakistan Cement Manufacturers Association, during the first quarter of current fiscal year, the cement industry has posted a growth of 9.50 percent in local despatches compared with local despatches during first quarter of last fiscal year. Exports also recorded a growth of 3.03 percent compared with exports during the first quarter of last year. The overall situation during first quarter of current fiscal year showed an 8.33 percent growth compared to the same period of last fiscal year.

During first quarter i.e. July-September 2016 the cement industry despatched 8.976 million tons of cement, while during the corresponding period of July-September 2015 the total despatches were 8.286 million tons. Capacity utilization during the first quarter of this fiscal is 79%, an increase of 7% compared with corresponding period last year.