Boosting housing sector need attention: APCMA

Cement industry which is mostly depending on infrastructure projects currently has pushed the government to take steps for the housing projects in Pakistan.

According to All Pakistan Cement Manufacturers Association (APCMA), sustained growth in housing construction is essential to absorb the additional capacities that would be operational in two years. It urged that the government should avoid disruptive policies that impact construction growth in the country.

As per APCMA data for the first four months of the current fiscal year, the cement industry has posted a growth of 11.26 percent in local dispatches compared with local dispatches during same period of last fiscal year. Exports also recorded a growth of 1.73 percent compared with exports during the same period of last year. The overall situation during first four months of current fiscal year showed a 9.57 percent growth compared to the same period of last fiscal year.

The data shows that domestic dispatches in October 2016 were 3.008 million tons registering a growth of 15.88 percent while the exports amounted to 0.518 million tons reflecting negative growth of 1.96 percent, compared to October 2015. Total cement dispatches in October amounted to 3.527 million tons depicting a growth of 12.87 percent. Capacity utilization for the month of October 2016 was 92.77 percent.

During the month of October 2016, exports to Afghanistan decreased from 0.252 million tons in October 2015 to 0.193 million tons in October 2016 showing a decline of 23.4 percent. However, exports to India registered healthy increase from 0.086 million tons in October last year to 0.110 million tons during the same month this year, showing growth of 27 percent. Exports to India are mainly through Wahga border and southern coast of India.

Spokesman for APCMA expressing concerns over falling exports to Afghanistan that have declined in the first four months of this fiscal by 11.74 percent. He said cement exports to India have registered an increase of 101.88 percent during July-October 2016 period from a very low base. He said the chances of exports to India are not bright due to tension between the two countries.

APCMA expressed concern over sharp rise in coal prices, impacting the cost of production of cement. Coal price which was $54 in May 2016 has now increased to $105, the spokesman concluded.