Malawi government has relaxed its ban on the importation of cement – a critical ingredient in the construction industry – in order to protect the consumers from exploitation of exorbitant prices on the monopolising local industry.
The legally imported cement is said to be bringing competition and stabilising the prices of cement in the country exciting property investors.
The prices of cement in southern region where cement is from local industries is higher than Lilongwe as central region there is competition from the cement imported mostly from Zambia.
In Zambia, the price of cement has been reduced from $10= a bag to $4 a bag after Dangote, a Nigerian business man, richest black African in the world is offering his cement cheaper.
The benefits are reaching Malawians as the imported cement in the country is being sold at lower prices to benefit the consumer.
The local manufacturers of cement have been overpricing but Ministry of Trade and Industry has issued licenses to some importers to enhance competition on the market.
The ministry is encouraging other investors to import cement and pay import duty in order to promote competition in the industry and ensure that prices of cement are affordable to many poor Malawians.
However, the Ministry of Industry and Trade spokesperson, Wiskes Mkombezi warned against smuggled cement , saying all imports should be cleared by the ministry to avoid bringing into the country products that may be “ injurious to the public health, public morals and others.”
“The ministry, therefore, will always commit itself to fight smuggling and give strong support to all stakeholders such as Malawi Revenue Authority and the Malawi Police Service in this fight,” said Mkombezi.
“We also call upon members of the community to join hands with the government in the fight against smuggling. Smuggling must be fought everywhere in all its forms,” said Mkombezi.
Malawi Bureau of Standards also ensure that the imported cement conform to the ISO [International Standards Organisation]
The demand for cement in Malawi is rising due to the upsurge in activities in the construction industry.
The country introduced licenses for cement importers in early 2000 as a way of controlling the influx of imported cement on the local market and to provide breathing space for the infant local industry to survive and grow.
Meanwhile, some local manufacturers are forcing the ministry not to issue importation licence in the northern region to monopolize and increase the price.
Since the licence issuance was put in place, Shayona has increased the price by K100 from K5500 to 5600= per bag.
Dangote cement is being sold at K5900, much more expensive than other cement locally produced.
It was established from the contractors and consumers that the quality of Dangote is much higher, the drying time of concrete is much faster.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :