ISLAMABAD: Tile makers have asked the government to curb smuggling of tiles and provide a level playing field to the existing manufacturers in line with new companies established in the CPEC industrial zones.

Pakistan used to have a strong ceramic and porcelain tiles industry but is now struggling for survival as the major market share has been grabbed by tiles being imported or smuggled from China, Iran and the UAE.

“Instead of controlling smuggling and imports through the Afghan Transit Trade or under-invoicing, the government has burdened the local industry with high gas rates and increased freight charges,” deplored Shabbir Tiles Chief Executive Officer Masood Jaffery while talking told media on Saturday.

He said the recently imposed axle load restrictions by the National Highway Authority (NHA) had doubled the freight cost of basic raw material clay which is transported from Mianwali and Mansehra, he added.

“The NHA has reduced the axle load to half which means the number of trucks required for transportation should be doubled, and the freight cost too has increased,” he explained, adding that the supply constraints is faced by everybody after these restrictions.

Published in Dawn, October 13th, 2019