LAHORE: In a bid to protect the domestic industry from foreign competition, the All Pakistan Cement Manufacturers Association (APCMA) has suggested that the present 1% custom duty on imports needs to be enhanced to 25%.
According to the association, inaction against mis-declaration on imports and revenue loss through smuggling is affecting the government and its revenue generation efforts. “In addition, it is also promoting corruption at the clearing stage, which goes rampant inflicting huge damage to the local industry as well,” he said in a communiqué.
During April, 34,000 tons of Iranian cement was imported and about 20,000 tons of different Iranian cement brands have been imported till May 15.
Considering the recent imposition of anti-dumping duty on Pakistani cement by South Africa, he added, Pakistani government should also follow suit in order to stop the influx of Iranian cement in the country.
The importers of Iranian cement declare less quantity to save duties, putting the local industry at a disadvantage.
The local industry is subject to duties even on raw material, spare parts as well as packing material, which increases the cost of doing business in Pakistan.
“Direct revenue to the national exchequer in the form of excise duty and sales tax can be increased by approximately Rs1 billion per annum provided the government stops the import of 500,000 tons of cement from Iran,” reasoned the chairman APCMA.
He said this would be in addition to the revenues collected by the government in the form of taxes on limestone, clay and other raw materials used in the manufacturing of cement.
“It is the prime responsibility of the government to protect the local industry that has invested billions of rupees in the country and has substantial share in the revenue to the national exchequer,” he said.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 23rd, 2015.
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