Chairperson of the Namibia Chamber of Commerce and Industry (NCCI) Northern Branch, Tomas Koneka Indji has accused Ohorongo Cement of monopoly by exploiting the local market as the only cement producer in Namibia.
A fortnight ago, Managing Director of Ohorongo Cement, Hans-Wilhelm Shutte was quoted by a local daily newspaper expressing concern over the increased cement imports from Asia, specifically China, which he claimed threatens Ohorongo and jobs at the plant.
“If we continue to increase the import of cement, then everything is not guaranteed anymore at Ohorongo Cement. Job opportunities, value addition, debushing projects and outsourcing of some activities at Ohorongo will be in danger,” said Shutte.
The NCCI Northern chairperson said the establishment of Ohorongo cement in Namibia was not to further disadvantage the poor in terms of pricing.
“Compared to Ohorongo cement, the imported cement is much more affordable to the poor and therefore it helps realise the building needs of the public that have been constrained by monopolised and exploitative pricing of the only cement producer in the country,” said Indji.
Namibia has about five companies that import cement products from China, Portugal, Brazil, as well as
from South African manufacturer, AfriSam, which was the market leader before Ohorongo opened its doors at Otavi in January this year.
Indji said as a custodian of the Northern business community, the Chamber anticipated that products manufactured in Namibia, with raw material source within the country, must and should be cheaper than imported products.
“To imply that Ohorongo Cement must enjoy the monopoly because it is employing local people is not justification for repelling cheaper and affordable cement,” said Indji.