According to data released by the All Pakistan Cement Manufacturers Association (Apcma), cement export has registered a healthy growth of 12.66%. While during the first two months of the fiscal year, the domestic demand saw a decline of 5.50%.
The export in July 2019 was 0.53 million tons, registering a nominal 2% increase as compared to the corresponding month of last year, which was 0.52 million tons. While exports increased from 0.56 million tons in August 2018 to 0.68 million tons in August 2019, registering a rise of 22.67%.
However, the overall dispatches in August 2019 declined by 3.55% from 3.46 million tons in August 2018 to 3.33 million tons in August 2019.
During the first month of the fiscal year (July), the domestic demand decreased by 2.55 percent, from 3.04 million tons in July 2018 to 2.97 million tons in July 2019. Whilst in August 2019, the domestic sales stood at 2.66 million tons which decreased by 8.58 percent as compared to 2.90 million tons in August 2018.
Continous reduction in construction activity has wreaked havoc with the cement sector, which saw its production capacity increase to 55.995 million tons. The industry dispatched 46.88 million tons of cement in 2018-19 leaving a surplus of 9.12 million tons. The domestic market remained under pressure in the last fiscal as well, absorbing only 40.34 million tons, which was almost 2% less than 2017-18.
The association pointed out that the regular increase in domestic demand in the southern area of the country during the last fiscal saved the sector from a total collapse.
However, the uptake of cement has declined in the South by a massive 32.95% in the first two months of this fiscal year. The uptake in the north inched up by only 1.66% and could not compensate for the decline in the South.
A spokesman of All Pakistan Cement Manufacturers Association said the consumption of cement determines the employment creation in the country. He said that as local demand declines, the number of jobs also falls. He said the ever-increasing workforce in the job market demands that steps should be taken to create jobs faster.
He pointed out that the cement industry is in trouble. The State has not helped its cause by slapping more tax on the industry this fiscal. He said that by facilitating the construction industry as a whole, the government could reduce the ever-increasing unemployment in the country.