Malawi government has justified its decision to give licences on the importation of cement – a critical ingredient in the construction industry – saying there is no ban for the importation of the product.
Ministry of Industry and Trade spokesperson, Wiskes Mkombezi said government issues the cement importation licences in order to protect the consumers from exploitation of exorbitant prices on the monopolising local industry.
He said the licences were issued in order to “ regulate and bring sanity to the cement trade” and also curb smuggling of the product.
The legally imported cement is said to be bringing competition and stabilising the prices of cement in the country exciting property investors.
He said with import cement, there is no shortage of supply even in under-saved areas.
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 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 local cement manufactures have cried foul over the import licences.
Aslam Gaffar the managing director of Cement Products Limited and Lafarge cement director Iise Borshoff claim cement imports are threatening jobs for local people.
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.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :