Kathmandu, January 8
The government is yet to begin the grading process for domestic cement brands though it had planned to start the process quite some time back.
Though the Nepal Bureau of Standards and Metrology (NBSM) had prepared the draft of quality certification for domestic cement brands before Dashain, it has failed to arrange a meeting of NBSM technical committee, which is authorised to give a final shape to the quality certification draft. Once the meeting of the technical committee of NBSM gives a go-ahead to the draft, the document will be forwarded to Nepal Standard Council (NSC) for final approval. NSC is headed by the industry minister.
“It is true that the grading process for domestic cement brands has been delayed and we have not been able to arrange a meeting of the NBSM technical committee to finalise the quality certification draft. It is due to the busy work schedule that NBSM employees have at present,” Bishwo Babu Pudasaini, director general of NBSM told The Himalayan Times, adding that he will call the meeting within the next two weeks.
Under its plan to grade domestic cement brands, the government will provide quality certification for cement under three categories — 33-grade, 43-grade and 53-grade. According to Pudasaini, NBSM has finalised quality parameters for cement under all aforementioned three grades. Domestic cement brands are currently categorised as Ordinary Portland Cement (OPC) and Portland Pozzolana Cement (PPC) and both types of cement are labelled under 33-grade cement.
The government policy does not allow manufacturers to label their products higher than 33-grade though cement producers have been claiming that Nepali cement brands also meet international quality standards of 43-grade and 53-grade cement. Moreover, manufacturers have been saying that domestic cement brands are losing out in the market due to such government policy. They say that 33-grade labelled domestic cement has no demand in large development projects as such projects mention the need for 43-grade and 53-grade cement in their procurement specifications. As a result, a huge volume of cement is imported from India every year.
Dhurba Raj Thapa, president of Cement Manufacturers Association of Nepal, said the quality certification process had been delayed after government and private sector could not reach common understanding over which country’s quality parameters needed to be adopted in Nepal to grade domestic cement. “However, we recently finalised to grade domestic cement brands as per quality parameters used in India to grade cement,” said Thapa, adding the government is likely to begin providing quality grades to different domestic cement brands soon.
A version of this article appears in print on January 09, 2017 of The Himalayan Times.