Rwanda firms in support of zero-rated cement imports

Rwanda firms in support of zero-rated cement imports
Published: 15 October 2009

Rwandan construction companies have rallied behind the proposal of scrapping all tax on cement imports into the East African Community (EAC) region.

Nathan Lyod, the Chief Executive Officer of DN International said that the move is advantageous as it reduces the cost of construction.

"A reduction is the cost of construction is passed on to the end user. There will be cheaper houses, something which is crucial considering the current situation," he said.

"The prevailing global financial crisis has affected all individuals. Therefore it is necessary that we think out of the box," Lyod added.

Similarly, the CEO of Fair Construction, Johnson Kyanga said that the move is definitely gainful to construction firms. He however, did not divulge into details claiming he was in a meeting.

The comments come at a time when there was a 25 percent tax charge on cement.

However, after the implementation of the EAC Customs Union, the Common External Tariff (CET) for cement dropped from 55 percent in 2005 when it was included in a list of sensitive products.

The proposal by Uganda has however, been opposed by cement makers in Kenya and Tanzania. Eight cement firms from Kenya and Tanzania have been reported requested their governments to oppose the zero-rating of cement imports into a regional bloc, fearing they would harm the domestic industry.

They also requested that the sensitive product status of cement be restored and that governments should invoke additional anti-dumping.