The cement sector has not only achieved self-sufficiency in production but also by far surpassed the domestic demand, thanks to the aggressive entrepreneurship of our business community. Much to the satisfaction of the countrymen, more than three dozens of factories produce a staggering nine million tonnes of quality cement which is more than double of the domestic demand of the essential construction material. This extraordinary success of the cement sector has an additional significance: It is one of the indicators that symbolise the country’s tremendous socio-economic development. Bangladesh uses locally produced cement for the construction of a large number of mega projects.
However, the sector has to face certain hurdles on its growth path; some retarding factors hinder the growth of the sector to the optimum level. Cement production in Bangladesh is absolutely dependent on import of the main raw material; around 95 per cent of clinker has to be bought from other countries.But that is not the end of the story; the cement factories have to count extra coins for the import of the raw material. The cement manufacturers are now paying Tk 500 for the import of each tonnes of clinker. Besides, they have to pay five per cent customs duty and three per cent advance income tax. This not only imposes a huge financial burden on the manufacturers of the essential materials but also discourages new investment in cement manufacturing.
With a view to boosting investment in the sector, cement manufacturers have urged the government to consider lowering clinker import duty to TK 250 and withdrawal of the existing advance income tax and supply duty on the cement sector. We also feel that additional tax burden on cement manufacturers will hinder further development of the sector; authorities should therefore address the issue seriously for the greater interest of the sector and the national economy as a whole. With the further development of the economy and the likely increase in people’s purchasing power, demand for cement will increase manifold in near future. The cement sector needs further development and lowering of tax burden will help achieve the objective.