Government through the Ministry of Trade has attributed to the low supply of cement in the country to shortage of Forex and rising of cement prices in Zambia.
In a statement dated August 26 2020, signed by the Minister of Trade Sosten Gwengwe says the situations have therefore affected the importation of the cement in the country.
“For example, for the past two weeks a bag of cement in Chipata, Zambia was selling at 120 Zambian Kwacha, equivalent to 5,600 Malawi Kwacha. But now it is around an average of 140 Zambian Kwacha, which is 6,500 in Malawi Kwacha,” reads the statement.
Gwengwe was however quick to point out that his Ministry has been assured by the cement producing companies and dealers that in the next few days to come, there will be constant supply of the cement in the country.
He said: “for instance, Shayona is currently producing 900 tons per day(18,000 bags of cement), CPL is currently producing 500 tons of cement (10,000 bags of cement). And they have also done some dry test on their new capacity.”
Gwengwe therefore said starting this coming weekend, the Companies shall start producing over 1,000 tons of cement, translanting to 20,000 bags per day each Company. However, he said his Ministry has issued import cement licenses of up to 100,000 tons to import companies.
Gwengwe has also warned the traders of cement in the country of overpricing the cement both domestically produced and imported ones. Saying it is against the law.
“I would like to issue a warning that engaging in unfair trading practices such as charging exorbitant on cement is an offence that is punishable under the Competition and Fair Trading Act. I want to assure customers that Government will do everything possible to protect them from these unfair trading practices,” warned Gwengwe.
The cement Government’s clarifications come barely days after the social media was flooded with reports that the country has run out of the cement in most cement selling companies in the country.
He then urged the media to play a watchdog law to report on unfair trading practices in the country.