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'Cement sector has excess capacity'

by Staff reporter
05 Oct 2018 at 05:37hrs | Views
ZIMBABWE's cement industry has excess capacity to meet the 1,3 million tonnes annual domestic demand as the sector has an installed capacity of 2,4 million tonnes, an official has said. Last month the market experienced cement shortages, which the country's largest cement producer, PPC Zimbabwe, attributed to annual maintenance works at its factories in Harare and Bulawayo.

As a result of the temporary shortage, some hardware shops, despite the improvement in cement supply, increased the price of the commodity from $11 for a 50 kilogramme bag to $15 depending on the brand. Lafarge Cement Zimbabwe commercial director, Ms Edith Matekaire, said the sector has enough capacity. "The current installed capacity in the cement industry still sits around 2,4 million tonnes. The demand today is only 1,3 million, so there is excess capacity. So, why are we currently having a shortage.

"Today what we are experiencing are issues to do with forex in relation to our ability to maintain and keep our production running at optimum capacity," she said. At present, Ms Matekaire said, her organisation was sitting in excess of $2 million forex backlog required by the cement producer to maintain its plant.

"What this therefore means is that we have delays in kiln shutdowns. Normally, these have to happen at specific times otherwise if they happen during the peak period then we will begin to experience the shortage that we have.

"And if the forex is available, the delays in the forex allocations result in critical shut downs, which today you can see have impacted on the supply of cement," she said. The sector is dominated by three major players, PPC Zimbabwe, Lafarge Cement Zimbabwe and Sino-Zimbabwe Cement.

Source - chronicle
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