Reduction in cement prices to help quake-hit people


ISLAMABAD: Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ICCI) on Tuesday asked the cement manufacturers to reduce the price to benefit millions of people whose homes are damaged in the recent earthquake.

Increasing opposition to coal in US, China and EU has reduced its prices by 20 percent and now it is being traded at $49 per tonne. This has reduced cost of doing business for industries using coal, said Atif Ikram Sheikh.

He said that price of cement must be reduced to benefit those millions who want to repair or reconstruct their homes as international coal prices will come down soon. The ICCI president said that Pakistan’s total cement production stood at 18 million tonnes ten years ago which is now 45 million tonnes which will jump to 53 million tonnes in few years as massive expansion is underway.

He said that cement companies should boost expansion plans as projects under economic corridor would need a lot of cement for which country cannot afford to waste foreign exchange. Citing a report, Atif Ikram Sheikh said that cement will continue to grow by 5-6 percent annually as it has been in the last two decades. However, exports would see a slide of 10 percent in the next year and five percent by 2018-20 therefore the stakeholders should try to find new markets.