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LAHORE: Construction activities in both the northern and southern regions of the country have significantly decreased since last many months which is creating alarming situation for the cement industry as its despatches during the month of March 2023 declined by 24.19 percent.

This sluggish trend of the construction industry also drying up the employment opportunities for skilled and unskilled labour attached to the construction sector, said All Pakistan Cement Manufacturers Association (APCMA).

While releasing the monthly data here on Monday, the Association claimed the total cement despatches during March 2023 were remained at 3.795 million tons against 5.006 million tons despatched during the same month of last fiscal year.

It further said that the cement despatches by the industry during the month of March 2023 were 3.356 million tons compared to 4.710 million tons in March 2022, showing a decline of 28.75%. Exports despatches increased by 48.46% as the volumes increased from 295,321 tons in March 2022 to 438,433 tons in March 2023. In March 2023, North based cement mills despatched 2.82 million tons cement showing a decline of 28.22% against 3.929 million tons despatches in March 2022. South based mills despatched 974,467 tons cement during March 2023 that was 9.48% less compared to the despatches of 1.076 million tons during March 2022.

North based cement mills despatched 2.72 million tons cement in domestic markets in March 2023 showing a decline of 29.33% against 3.849 million tons despatches in March 2022. South based mills despatched 636,465 tons cement in local markets during March 2023 that was 26.14% less compared to the despatches of 861,742 during March 2022.

Exports from North based mills increased by 24.63% as the quantities increased from 80,584 tons in March 2022 to 100,431 tons in March 2023. Exports from South based mills also increased by 57.40% to 338,002 tons in March 2023 from 214,737 tons during the same month last year.

During the first nine months of current fiscal year, total cement despatches (domestic and exports) were 33.6 million tons that is 17.59% lower than 40.769 million tons despatched during the corresponding period of last fiscal year. Domestic despatches during this period were 30.564 million tons against 36.126 million tons during same period last year showing a reduction of 15.40%. Export despatches were also 34.62% less as the volumes reduced to 3.036 million tons during the first nine months of current fiscal year compared to 4.643 million tons exports done during same period of last fiscal year.

North based mills despatched 25.047 million tons cement domestically during the first nine months of current fiscal year showing a reduction of 16.33% than cement despatches of 29.937 million tons during July-March 2022. Exports from North based mills increased by 14.56% percent to 778,437 tons during July-March 2023 compared with 679,481 tons exported during the same period last year. Total despatches by North based mills reduced by 15.65% to 25.826 million tons during first nine months of current financial year from 30.617 million tons during same period of last financial year.

Domestic despatches by South based mills during July-March 2023 were 5.517 million tons showing reduction of 10.86% over 6.189 million tons cement despatched during the same period of last fiscal year. Exports from South based mills declined by 43.05% to 2.257 tons during July-March 2023 compared with 3.964 million tons exported during the same period last year. Total despatches by South based mills reduced by 23.43% to 7.774 million tons during first nine months of current financial year from 10.152 million tons during same period of last financial year. The All Pakistan Cement Manufacturers Association’s spokesman while commenting on the situation said continued political instability, currency devaluation and poor economic conditions are badly affecting all the industrial sectors including cement.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2023

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