New certification for domestic cement to begin in three months

Kathmandu, November 17

The government will start certifying domestic cement brands with quality grades after three months, enabling them to compete in the market with foreign cement brands.

Cement manufactured by Nepali companies will be certified under three quality categories — 33-grade, 43-grade and 53-grade cement. Currently, the government doesn't have any legal provision to certify cement that is graded higher than 33, and thus, all cement brands produced in Nepal are certified as 33-grade cement though producers have been claiming that there are domestic cement brands that are above 33-grade.

The quality categorisation of cement in the international market is as per 33-grade, 43-grade and 53-grade. In Nepal, cement is categorised as Ordinary Portland Cement (OPC) and Portland Pozzolana Cement (PPC), both of which are labelled as under 33-grade cement by producers as the government provision doesn’t allow producers to label their brands higher than grade 33.

“We are in the last stage of finalising the draft of quality certification for domestic cement brands,” Bishwo Babu Pudasaini, director general of Nepal Bureau of Standards and Metrology (NBSM) told The Himalayan Times, adding that NBSM will begin certifying cement within three months.

Once NBSM finalises quality certification draft, it will be sent to Nepal Standard Council (NSC) for final approval. NSC is headed by the industry minister.

As of now, NBSM is developing quality parameters for cement under all three grades.

“We will send the draft to NSC within a month and NSC, after studying the draft in detail, will approve it paving the way for us to certify domestic cement brands based on their quality.

Tentatively, we will be able to start the certifying process in three months from today,” added Pudasaini, who is also the member secretary of NSC.

Certification provision for domestic cement is expected to increase their competitiveness. As a majority of big projects in Nepal mention the need of 43-grade and 53-grade cement in its procurement specifications, domestic cement manufacturers are barred from supplying cement to such big projects.

Consulting companies of such projects, thus, import 43-grade and 53-grade certified cement from India.

“We have long been urging the government to certify our cement. Certifying domestic cement brands will not only increase competitiveness in domestic cement, it will also help Nepal be self-reliant in cement as Indian cement brands are being imported for big projects in the country,” Dhurba Raj Thapa, president of Cement Manufacturers Association of Nepal said, adding that certification system for higher grade cement would be a boon to the cement industry of Nepal.

Meanwhile, Thapa informed 43-grade and 53-grade cement will be dearer by up to Rs 15 per kg than the existing 33-grade cement, once they are certified.