Country importing Rs 10 billion worth of clinkers annually
KATHMANDU, Sept 28: Though the government has set a target of becoming self-sufficient in cement and its raw materials, the import of clinker - a key raw material - is increasing with each passing year.
Cement industries have been importing large volume of clinkers because of their inability to extract limestone which is found in abundance in the country.
Nepal is importing clinkers worth Rs 10 billion annually. According to Trade and Export Promotion Center (TEPC), Rs 9.84 billion worth of clinker was imported into the country in Fiscal Year 2015/16.
The country is gradually becoming self-sufficient in cement. But it is spending precious foreign currency to import clinkers and other raw materials.
Nepal had imported cement worth Rs 6.54 billion in Fiscal Year 2015/16. Similarly, it imported clinkers worth Rs 8.4 billion in 2014/15.
Dhurba Thapa, president of Nepal Cement Manufacturers Association (NCMA), attributed rise in import of clinkers to establishment of more cement industries in the country.“"As production of cement is increasing, it is only natural for the raw materials to increase accordingly”" added Thapa.
Though the country is becoming self-sufficient in cement, Thapa said only a few industries manufactures clinkers.“"Many industries are not being able to produce clinkers due to geographical, political and environmental issues”" Thapa said. He, however, is confident that Nepal will be self-sufficient in clinker within two years.
There are around 50 cement industries in the country. Only around two dozen of them produce clinker on their own. Remaining industries procure clinkers from domestic cement industries as well as from countries like India, South Africa and Bhutan, among others.
Studies show that there are plenty of limestone deposits in different parts of the country. If utilized properly, Nepal will have the capacity to export clinkers and cement to the neighboring markets, according to cement manufacturers. They further added that there is a good market for cement in Indian states of Uttar Pradesh and Bihar.
Cost of production of cement goes up if manufacturers source cement from other countries. As Nepali cement is expensive compared to Indian cement, cement imports is going unabated according to the manufacturers. They also said transport syndicate, obstruction by locals, and lack of road infrastructures to limestone mines are some of the reasons that are increasing cost of production of cement.
The government has adopted a policy of providing power supply and access road facility to cement industries that intend to set up their own clinker plant.