Cement manufacturers seek govt preferential treatment

- Post Report, Kathmandu

May 6, 2017-

The Nepal Clinker and Cement Manufacturers Association has urged the government to give preferential treatment to make the country self sufficient on cement and clinker production in 4-5 years.

Underscoring that the demand for cement and clinker is growing rapidly with a focus on the infrastructure and construction sector, the association has urged the government to ease the process related to forest and environmental issues, along with acquiring mining licence and efficient management of customs. 

“If we prepare a proper strategy to harness resources optimally, we can succeed in becoming self-reliant on cement production within the next 4-5 years,” association’s President Purushottam Lal Shanghai said in a statement.   

According to the association, Nepal currently produces around 3.46 million tonnes of cement annually. With the new factories planning to come into operation soon, Nepal’s cement output is expected to increase to 6.5 million tonnes annually, it said.  

As the country’s current demand stands at around 8 million tonnes, a huge chunk of cement has to be imported from India to meet the gap.

Although the Environment Protection Act has extended the provision requiring Initial Environment Examination (IEE) for industries--from extracting 1,200 tonnes of limestone to 4,800 tonnes, the provision related with area that can be used by such industries remain unchanged at five hectares. 

The association has demanded that the industries with a potential to extract 4,800 metric tonnes should be allowed to use 50 hectares of land, while calling for an IEE clearance of such mines spread over 50 hectares. 

“We were informed that the Forest Ministry has recommended that mines spread over an area of up to 25 hectares of land will be cleared through IEE. However that too hasn’t happened,” states the statement. 

The association has also recommended the government to revise and simplify the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) procedure, which takes around 2-3 years for completion. The association has also asked the government to reduce customs tariff by 90 percent in imports of coal and petroleum coke for industries that produces both-cement and clinker. Customs rate for imports of general coal and petroleum coal currently stands at 5 and 10 percent respectively. 

According to the Trade and Export Promotion Centre, the country imported clinker worth Rs8.97 billion in the first six months of the current fiscal year, nearly six-fold jump from Rs1.52 billion in the same period last year. 

A total of 48 cement factories are currently in operation in the country. Among them, 14 produces clinker and they have their own grinding unit. 

Following a recent boom in the construction industry, the country’s cement requirement has soared. Domestic cement factories has reported 15-20 percent growth in sales every year.

Published: 06-05-2017 08:56

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