The Guyana government will continue to waive the 15% Common External Tariff (CET) on extra-regional cement even though Cabinet Secretary Dr. Roger Luncheon acknowledged that the government did not follow "standard procedures" by applying to the Caricom Secretariat for approval.
Dr. Luncheon told Stabroek News in an interview after his weekly post-Cabinet briefing at the Office of the President on Friday that the, "CET is not being applied now," explaining that the government continues to waive the CET on extra-regional cement. The Cabinet Secretary did not reveal the duration of the current waiver when asked about the timeframe.
In October, the CET waiver on cement came to an end and following a meeting with cement importers on October 3, Tourism, Industry and Commerce Minister Manniram Prashad then confirmed in an interview with this newspaper on November 1, that the ministry would continue the waiver on cement, despite opposition from Trinidad Cement Ltd (TCL). TCL maintains that it can supply the entire Guyana market from its new bagging facility.
Dr. Luncheon again argued that, "the (TCL) bagging plant mainly bags," adding that, "the production of cement by TCL is the issue."
At midyear TCL, the regional cement supplier, opened a US$10M bagging plant at the Guyana National Industrial Co. Inc. (GNIC), which the company says has the capacity to bag 30,000 tonnes of cement per month, while the local market needs some 12,000 tonnes monthly.