Tanzanian cement manufacturers need to increase production capacity to narrow the deficit currently experienced by local consumers.
Hezekiel Chibulunje, the Deputy Minister for Industry, Trade and Marketing, said that with attractive prices in neighbouring countries, most cement produced in Tanzania has found its way there, causing cement shortages in the country that could paralyse the construction industry.
“With the need for additional cement in the market, we have seen price hikes all over the country,” said TCC Managing Director, Juerg Fluehmann. The government’s decision to allow imports and to restrict cement exports as a short-term measure should translate into increased availability of cement in the market.”
He said his company would import an additional 44,000 tonnes of clinker from South Korea, enabling the firm to increase cement supply in the local market.
The additional clinker will enable TCC to supply an extra 63,000 tonnes of cement to its key markets. Clinker is a semi-finished input composed of limestone and red soil burned at 1,450 degrees centigrade; it is an important component in the making of cement.
Industry observers have said that the shortages of cement in the local market have been due to mounting demand for the product in the region and in South Africa, which is set to host the first soccer World Cup to be held on the continent.
Most of the cement in South Africa is going into construction of stadiums and other infrastructure for the 2010 World Cup.
In neighbouring Uganda, which last week hosted the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting, most of the cement has gone towards construction of hotels, roads, drainage and other infrastructure in order to beat the deadline to host the meeting.