Arne Birger Johansen, General Manager of LEOCEM, Sierra Leone’s sole cement producer has disclosed that his industry has the capacity to produce cement more than domestic demand.
He made this statement at a press conference held yesterday at the Ministry of Information and Communication where he briefed the media on the scarcity of cement in the country some few days ago. He said they produce 25,000 bags of cement per day which is more than what the daily market demand for cement requires adding that due to inadequate storage they presently lack the capacity to stockpile a huge quantity to be released in case of shortage in the market.
“The scarcity of cement in the market was due to the fact that we experienced a delay in the shipment of raw materials and we were also doing our annual maintenance of the machines” The General Manager said.
He added the ship that was delivering the consignment of raw materials was not allowed to land at the Quay because there was no parking space and she stayed off shore for three and half days before she was allowed to land, a situation that is very much unusual. He disclosed that normal production is now going on.
Responding to questions on the high cost of a bag of cement Mr. Johansen said at present they sell a bag of cement at Le30, 500 and this is because most of the raw materials like chemicals are imported. He further mentioned that the industry presently generate its own electricity which is very much costly as National Power Authority is yet to connect them with power.
The Minister of Trade and Industry David Carew said private sector development is a catalyst for growth in the country and cement production is not an exception therefore, if there is any shortage the people have to be duly informed. He also expressed concern over the high cost of cement adding that government will be happy to see the price of cement come down.