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LAHORE: Cement sector posted robust growth of 40.41 percent in April 2021 when total cement despatches were registered at 4.943 million tons against 3.52 million tons despatched during the same month of last fiscal year.

Exports increased significantly by 252 percent, from 249,127 tons in April 2020 to 877,163 tons in April 2021 while local cement despatches during the same period increased to 4.066 million tons from 3.271 million tons showing a healthy increase of 24.29 per cent, according to the data released by All Pakistan Cement Manufacturers Association (APCMA) here on Tuesday.

During April 2021, the North based cement mills despatched 3.377 million tons cement in domestic markets showing an increase of 15.33 percent over 2.928 million tons despatches in April 2020. South based mills despatched 688,239 tons cement in local markets during April 2020 registering a robust increase of 100 percent compared to the despatches of 342,594 tons in April 2020.

Exports from North based mills registered an enormous increase of 155 times as the volumes increased from just 1,609 tons in April 2020 to 250,072 tons in April 2021. Exports from South also increased by 153.35 percent to 627,091 tons in April 2021 from 247,519 tons during the same month last year.

During the first 10-months of this fiscal year, total cement despatches (domestic and exports) were 48.274 million tons which was 19.03 percent higher than 40.555 million tons of cement despatched during the corresponding period of last fiscal year.

During July 20 to April 21, local despatches increased by 18.87 percent to 40.249 million tons from 33.859 million tons in the same period last year. Exports increased from 6.696 million tons during the first 10 months of the last fiscal to 8.025 million tons during July 20 to April 21, showing a growth of 19.84 percent.

During the first 10 months of the current fiscal year, north based mills despatched 34.008 million tons of cement for domestic consumption that was 17.51 percent higher compared to the despatches during the same period last fiscal that stood at 28.941 million tons. Exports from North were 2.161 million tons showing an increase of 12.75 percent over exports of 1.916 million tons during the same period of last fiscal year.

Local despatches from South based mills were 6.241 million tons during the first ten months of the current fiscal year which was 26.92 percent higher than 4.917 million tons despatched during the corresponding period of last fiscal year. The exports from South recorded 5.863 million tons registering an increase of 22.69 percent over exports of 4.779 million tons during the same period last year.

The APCMA spokesman said it is very good to see that cement exports have touched 8 million tons during the first ten months of current fiscal year and will likely cross 9 million tons by June 2021. “Another point worth noting is that domestic despatches are increasing even in the month of Ramadan during which the construction activities usually slow down,” he added.

However, despite this growth, the industry is operating in very tough scenario due to continuous rise in major inputs. “We request the government to treat the cement sector at par with other exporting sectors and rationalize import levies on coal as well as the electricity tariff which are the mains cost elements of cement sector,” added the spokesman of APCMA.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021