Perceived as a problem that would end shortly, it’s almost seven months now since consumers started experiencing the scarcity of cement across the country, yet little seems to have been achieved to get rid of the shortage and many still can’t afford to carry on their projects.
Cement shortage has pushed prices high as demand increases due to a booming construction industry, but a significant number of potential consumers have stopped their projects as a result of increased costs.
Retails prices of cement now stand at 14,500/- and 15,000/- for a 50 kg bag in Dar es Salaam but is more costly in the lake zone, according to reliable sources.
This however, indicates a significant drop of prices compared to some two or three months ago when prices of the item in Dar es Salaam and upcountry ranged between 16,000/- and 25,000/- for a 50kg bag.
Dar es Salaam is mostly supplied with Twiga cement brand manufactured by its Tanzania Portland Cement Company (TPCC) also in the city, but Tanga and Mbeya cement companies also supply Dar es Salaam although in small quantities.
Total demand of cement in the country is estimated to be 1.6Mta while local production stands at 1.7Mt.
The government has once again issued permits to six companies to import at least a total of 150,000t of cement in March and April.
This comes after it revoked permits of 15 companies for failure to import cement as agreed.
"This move seeks to alleviate shortage of cement on the local market and if the six firms will fail to import the said volume we will revoke their permits without delay," Dr Stergomena Bamwenda, the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Marketing was quoted as saying.
"The government had waived excise duty from 45 per cent to 20 per cent for the product imported from outside East African countries so as to enable them a smooth importation," she added.