The East Africa Community (EAC) governments should review the common external tariff on cement, which was reduced to 25% in 2008 as a temporary measure to curb the perceived short supply in the region, EAC cement producers have said.
The manufacturers want the tariff to be reviewed back to 35% or US$50/t to level the playing field now that there is enough investment in production capacity. The EAC region produces 11Mt compared to a demand of 8Mt after the industry players invested over US$0.5b over the last three years.
Hima Cement recently commissioned a new factory in Kasese, which has more than doubled production from 350,000t to 850,000t. David Njoroge, the East Africa Cement Producers Association (EACPA) chairman, said the regional governments had commissioned a panel of experts to study the cement industry in the region.
The recommendations by the panel will be critical in determining whether the regional finance ministers would consider increasing the tax.