Tanzania has cancelled cement import licences for 14 companies that had applied to import quantities from East African countries and elsewhere.
The decision comes after months of foot dragging by importers who were issued with licences to cover cement deficit that had sent prices souring.
Late last year, the Ministry for Industries, Trade and Marketing issued licenses for importers to bring into the country 100,000t of cement from East African countries at zero duty.
The ministry issued a total of 29 licences to various companies. But by January 31 this year, only 2,789t from EAC states and 1,500t from outside the region had been imported, prompting the permanent secretary at the ministry, Stagomena Tax Bamwenda, to cancel the licences.
Ms Bamwenda also gave 14 days for importers with cargo already in transit to ensure that it is delivered before the licence expires.
Companies importing cement outside the EAC have been given up to February 29 to do so, with a warning that licences without at least a third of the amount requested would be cancelled.
However, the cement deficit is likely to end when cement manufacturers’ expansion projects are finalised.
Tanga cement and Tanzania Portland are undertaking expansion projects to increase their installed capacity.