ISLAMABAD:

The Ministry of Science and Technology has decided to forward the Competition Commission of Pakistan’s (CCP) proposal for revising national cement standards regarding the disclosure of “manufacturing/expiry dates” on cement bags to the PSQCA for deliberation in the Technical Committee.

A CCP team, led by Member OFT Saeed Ahmad Nawaz, conducted a follow-up meeting with Ali Tahir, Additional Secretary (In-charge) of the Ministry of Science and Technology (MoST), to discuss the proposal to amend the National Cement Standards, making the ‘manufacturing/packaging and expiry/best before’ dates on cement bags mandatory. The proposal was sent through a Policy Note issued on March 7, 2024 to MoST and the Pakistan Standards and Quality Control Authority (PSQCA).

During the meeting, Member CCP emphasised the importance of these disclosures due to cement’s hygroscopic nature, noting that non-disclosure violates Section 10 of the Competition Act, 2010. He highlighted the current practice where manufacturers disclose manufacturing/packaging and expiry/best before dates individually on bags and collectively on bales for export but omit them for local products. He stressed the need for a collaborative control mechanism involving all stakeholders.

The ministry pledged full assistance to the CCP in protecting consumer interests as mandated in Section 10 of the Competition Act, 2010. It was decided in the meeting that the matter will be referred to PSQCA for deliberations in Technical Committee meeting, which is scheduled on May 7, 2024.

The participants of the meeting also agreed with member CCP’s proposal of convening a meeting with stakeholders, including the cement manufacturers association, to discuss the issue and inform them about potential enforcement actions. The meeting was also attended by senior officials from CCP, the MoST, and the PSQCA.

Published in The Express Tribune, May 2nd, 2024.

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