Burundi has expressed concern at reduced quantity of cement exported to by Lafarge Cement Zambia which has resulted to high retail prices.
Burundi is Lafarge Cement Zambia’s second largest export market the after Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). About 8,425 tonnes of cement was exported to Burundi last year compared to 48,596 tonnes in 2006 and 48,926 tonnes in 2005.
Visiting Burundi Minister of Transport, Philippe Njoni expressed the concern in Chilanga when he paid a courtesy call on Lafarge and toured the plant under construction.
Mr Njoni, who was accompanied by a delegation from the Ministry of Communication and Transport, was very impressed with rate of construction at the plant.
This is according to company corporate affairs and communications, Eugene Chungu, said that during the visit, the minister wanted more light to be shed on reduced exports to his country.
The minister who was amazed at the size of the plant under construction and the capacity once commissioned said Zambia was a major supply of cement to his country.
And Lafarge Cement Zambia managing director, Thomas Ehrhart assured the minister that Burundi was a traditional market and would continue to be given focus.
Mr Ehrhart however said Lafarge Zambia’s commitment was to first supply the domestic market before focusing on export.
“Due to the increase in local demand the company was trying to first satisfy this demand while producing at capacity with a deliberate effort to maintaining a presence in the regional markets which includes Burundi hence the continued exports but at reduced quantities,’’ he said.