Cement production in Nepal has been growing sharply over the past few years. The industry is among the country’s most flourishing business sectors as the demand of cement is constantly rising. The vast untapped limestone reserves spread across the country have not only lured domestic companies but also the international investors.–By Akhilesh Tripathi and Sanjeev Sharma
Nepal’s cement industry has been flourishing despite all sorts of problems. The industry has seen significant growth over the last few years. According to Dhruba Thapa, President of the Cement Manufacturers Association of Nepal (CMAN), the country’s cement industry has been steadily growing at 8-10 per cent annually for the past several years. “The cement industry has seen growing steadily. Its future looks bright,” says Thapa when asked to comment on the current situation of the Nepali cement industry.
“The annual demand of cement in Nepal is about four million metric tonnes of which some 3.2 million metric tonnes is met through domestic production while the rest is imported,” he adds. The country’s import of cement has been dropping year after year because of the rising domestic production.
According to the Trade and Export Promotion Centre (TEPC), the rate of growth in cement imports has declined in the last fiscal year. Nepal imported OPC cement worth Rs 2.99 billion in fiscal 2013-14. In the previous fiscal year i.e. 2012-13, cement imports stood at Rs 3.75 billion. The decline in the import of both cement and clinker reflects Nepal’s progress towards self-sufficiency in cement production.According to CMAN, the domestic cement industry has an installed production capacity of about 6 million tonnes annually which is higher than the annual demand of four million metric tonnes. But the cement factories currently operational have been able to utilize only about 50 per cent of their total production capacity.However, this hasn’t stopped the private sector from entering this sector in a big way. Currently, according to the data provided by CMAN, there are 45 cement factories in operation producing 3.2 million metric tonnes of cement annually. Local production fulfils about 80 percent of the requirement and the rest is met by imports from India. Nepal produces OPC, PPC and PSC cement, of which OPC is preferred these days.Out of the 45 factories, only 12 also produce clinker, a major raw material used in cement production. As early as a decade ago, Nepal used to depend on India