The federal government has agreed to issue import licences (APs) for cement to the Sabah Housing & Real Estate Developers Association (SHAREDA) and its Sarawak counterpart SHEDA to overcome the shortage of the material in the two states.
Announcing this today, Deputy International Trade & Industry Minister Datuk Liew Vui Keong said the move takes effect immediately.
Member companies need to apply through the associations, and the validity of the APs is until Dec 31, with any need for these APs for next year to be based on an assessment at year-end, he told a press conference during a visit to the ministry’s office here.
Liew said the decision was made after the ministry discussed the matter with the Sabah and Sarawak industrial development ministries as well as SHAREDA, SHEDA, The Cement & Concrete Association, Cement Industries (Sabah) Sdn Bhd (CIS), CMS Cement Sdn Bhd in Sarawak and the Domestic Trade & Consumer Affairs Ministry last Feb 27.
"The government is paying great attention to the problems being faced by the developers and we hope that the issuance of APs will ease the shortage of cement supplies," he added.
Liew, noting that this year alone Sabah will have a shortage of up to 500,000 tons of cement, felt the government’s move will help ease the concerns of developers as well as house buyers.
Asked whether the AP issuance will adversely affect the interests of CIS which is the only cement producer in Sabah, he said the matter does not arise because the APs are only a temporary measure to overcome the cement shortage.
On the shortage of steel in Sabah, he said the government will make efforts to overcome this and as an initial step the ministry will have a meeting with the producers and developers on Monday.