PakAlumni Worldwide: The Global Social Network

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Comment by Riaz Haq on January 27, 2012 at 5:47pm

Here's a 2011 Dawn Op Ed on cement industry by Pakistan Cement Industry Association leader Tariq Saigol:

While the private sector performed magnificently whenever provided with an enabling environment, the response of the present government remains mired in confusion and inertia. Installed capacity was a paltry nine million tons in 1990, much of it being grossly inefficient as it was based on the outmoded wet process technology. As demand rose, the industry responded by launching a massive expansion programme. Over time, the installed capacity rose to nearly 44 million tons, a magnificent feat by any standards and a credit to the entrepreneurial spirit of the private sector.

However a number of adverse developments from 2007 onwards have brought the GDP growth to some two per cent. It is being reported by the media that the revised allocation after the latest cut, is a measly Rs180 billion. High inflation combined with slump in real estate and increase in the cost of production due to weakness of the dollar, resulting in a spike in coal prices, electricity and freight rates and accounting for 70 per cent of the cost, has adversely affected consumption while production cost soars, retarding construction activity in the private sector.

The current economic environment including low public spending has had disastrous consequences for the cement sector.

Local sales during the first half of the current fiscal year have witnessed an eight per cent year on year drop to around 10.1 million tons. Simultaneously, exports fell from 5.6 million tons to 4.6 million tons. The bad news does not end here. On top of low volumes, the average cement FOB prices fell to $48 per ton during the corresponding period— a level low enough to hardly break even.

Consequently cement sales through the sea route alone declined by about one third. Cement sales to India were also hard hit on account of non renewal of BIS certification (a quality control licence). Burdened with high energy and freight costs as well, the manufactures are desperate for some government support.

But no support is forthcoming. One would expect the government’s economic planners to appreciate the tremendous odds against which the industry is battling. If care of the cement industry is in short supply, then some thought may be given to the enormous exposure of the banks which have provided financing to the tune of $1.5 billion to the sector during 2003-2008.

http://www.dawn.com/2011/03/14/opportunities-missed.html

Comment by Riaz Haq on December 4, 2012 at 9:39am

Here's an excerpt of a BR story on Zardari's visit to South Korea:

A major breakthrough came in the area of modernization of Railways. Pakistan, under the agreement, will seek high speed railways, communication systems, signaling, rail stock, modernization of operation and management, development of logistics parks and freight terminals, exchange of construction and maintenance technologies for infrastructure including tracks, bridges, overhead electrification and power supply systems.

The agreement was signed by Muhammad Arif Azim Secretary Railways and Minister of Railways of South Korea Kwon Do-youp. President Zardari in his meeting with President KORAIL Chung Chang-Young said Pakistan desired modern and efficient railways to help meet its growing industrial, agricultural and freight needs.

He said the current fleet of Pakistan Railways was unable to meet the needs of a growing nation and there was an urgent need to upgrade it.

The President who had a number of meetings with the heads of top Korean business houses said Pakistan was a heaven for foreign investors as the country's large consumer population promised good profits and lucrative business.

He said a large number of Korean companies were already operating in Pakistan and doing good business.

He said other companies can invest in many new areas while the existing ones can expand and diversify their operations. President KORAIL assured President Zardari that his company was willing to share its experiences and expertise with Pakistan Railways and help it develop on modern lines.

The President later witnessed the inking of a MoU under which Pakistan will be able to acquire used diesel locomotives and work for modernization, maintenance, operation and training of existing ones.

President Zardari during his meeting with the President and Chief Executive Officer of Samsung C&T said Pakistan needs to augment its energy resources to meet the growing demand of its industrial and domestic requirements...

http://www.brecorder.com/top-news/108-pakistan-top-news/93897-pakis...

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