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Cement supplies improve

by Staff reporter
24 Sep 2018 at 09:56hrs | Views
THE cement supply situation has improved following a temporary shortage that hit the country early this month. Although hardware retailers have confirmed the availability of the commodity, Business Chronicle has observed that several outlets had maintained the inflated prices.

A snap survey carried out by the news crew on Friday revealed that a majority of the hardware shops in Bulawayo had cement stocks in their warehouses but maintained the inflated prices.

"Cement supply situation has improved in the past few weeks. We have adequate stocks. We are not very sure whether the supply situation by the suppliers will remain stable or worsen.

"As a result, a majority of the hardware shops are selling at prices that were established when we started having the shortage," said a shop attendant at one of the shops along Fort Street who refused to be named.

The country's biggest cement producer, PPC Zimbabwe has said the intermittent shortage was a result of annual maintenance works at its factories in Harare and Bulawayo. As a result of the temporary shortage, some hardware outlets increased the price of the commodity from $11 for a 50kg bag of cement to between $15 and $20 depending on the brand.

Another retailer who only identified himself as Mr Ncube said it would take time before they review downwards the retail price of cement.

"As it is, there is no guarantee that the supply gap that dogged the market in recent weeks will not resurface. We will have to wait a little bit before we go back to previous price levels. PPC Zimbabwe has attributed the cement scarcity to annual maintenance works at its plant in Harare and Bulawayo but in the past we have never heard of them embarking on annual maintenance during this time of the year," he said.

Cement producers have said the market has no reason to engage in panic buying of cement and urged retailers to act sensibly in pricing the commodity to avoid market distortion. Major producers, PPC Zimbabwe and Lafarge, also highlighted that as major players they had not raised prices. The firms have also committed to bolstering Government's infrastructure development programme and serving the market.

Source - chronicle