ISLAMABAD: The Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ICCI) said that the Non-Tariff Barriers (NTB) were hampering the cement exports and urged the government to explore new markets for the growth of the industry in the country.
“The local cement industry needs attention as its growth is considered a major indicator of economic activity,” ICCI President Yasir Sakhi Butt said while commenting on the decrease in cement exports.
He was of the view that new export destinations should be explored and stated that Sri Lanka has also shown interest in importing huge quantity of cement from Pakistan every month.
If the industry is able to avail the opportunity offered, it may secure a significant share of Sri Lanka market by supplying required quantity of cement annually, he added.
He said cement is one of the major commodities that is abundantly available in Pakistan and can be exported to neighbouring countries even through the land route.
However, he added, the country's cement sector still faces non-tariff barriers at Indian borders, despite various measures taken by the government to enhance bilateral trade between two countries.
“Cement export to India can take a quantum jump if the non-tariff barriers are removed,” he opined.
He said that the cement sector is contributing above Rs.30 billion to the national exchequer in the form of taxes and serving the nation by providing job opportunities to more than 150,000 people.
Thus, there is a dire need that all cement units should operate at their maximum capacity and play its vital role in the building up the country's economy as well as earn foreign exchange.
But it would only be possible if neighbouring countries remove tariff and non-tariff barriers on Pakistani cement, he maintained.