Islamabad: The Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) has allowed the cement industry to determine prices on its own after major stakeholders informed Adviser to the Prime Minister on Commerce Abdul Razak Dawood that the industry was operating at a high cost of production due to rupee depreciation, a news source reported.
Cement produces, including All Pakistan Cement Manufacturers Association, met the prime minister’s aide and briefed him on the issues faced by the industry. They said energy, supplied through coal, was a major component of the cost of production and the rupee depreciation had led to a surge in the cost.
Dawood after listening to their grievances proposed that the government should let market forces determine the price, a move which will provide the cement industry an additional income of billions of rupees.
The adviser earlier at an international conference had said the volume of exports contributed by the cement industry would reach approximately USD 1 billion from the present USD 600 million after the completion of six cement manufacturing plants.
Dawood said that the cement sector had a key role in the infrastructural development of Pakistan. He linked the consistent growth and performance of the sector to the emergence of the multi-billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) projects. He added that the cement sector was crucial to boosting employment opportunities and infrastructural developments in the country.
He told the participants that Pakistan was working on free-trade agreements (FTA) with various countries and expressed the hope that Islamabad would finalise its second FTA with China by June next year. He described the participation of officials from over 20 countries as a welcoming sign and said such a gathering spoke volumes of investors’ confidence in Pakistan.
He also stressed the need to boost the production of locally-manufactured products, saying a ‘Made in Pakistan’ approach would put the country on path to economic prosperity and progress. He added that the government was trying its best to provide electricity to export-oriented industries on subsidised rates.
The adviser said Pakistan had a variety of unique products and the country will enter international competition through its exports. He added that the Council of Common Interests will come up with an export-friendly strategy in line with the suggestions of all chief ministers.