Local cement despatches rose 17.49 per cent to 20.89 million tonnes during the first eight months (July-February) of 2015-16 from 17.78m tonnes in the same period last year owing to the acceleration in construction activities.
However, exports declined by a massive 24pc to 3.8m tonnes from 5m tonnes in July-February 2014-15.
Total despatches during the period increased to 24.76m tonnes from 22.78m tonnes a year ago, an increase of 8.69pc.
In February 2016, local sales rose 30pc while exports, for the first time since December 2014, showed a slight increase of 1.47pc year-on-year, resulting in an overall growth of 25.06pc compared to the same month last year.
A spokesman for All Pakistan Cement Manufacturers Association (APCMA) said that the buoyancy in cement demand has kept the wheel of the industry moving.
He said that the increase in capacities has ensured that the industry would be able to meet the local demand easily.
“The industry is going for further expansions anticipating increase in economic activities as the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor project nears completion,” he added.
The spokesman further said that the industry was operating at a capacity of more than 80pc.
He lamented that the problems being faced by the industry were still unresolved.
He said that the duty on coal — an important input of the industry — had not been withdrawn.
Moreover, the checks on Pakistan-Iran border are still lax that facilitate smuggling of Iranian cement into Pakistani market. The issue of under-invoicing of Iranian cement has also not been addressed, he added.
Published in Dawn,