Cement shortage delays development projects in Sabah, Brunei

Cement shortage delays development projects in Sabah, Brunei
Published: 31 July 2007

Development projects in the State are being seriously hit by a continued shortage of cement resulting in many developers incurring additional costs.

Developers said the situation had been going on for more than two weeks now and has come to a point where they virtually have to fight for every bag of cement available at outlets.

And, even now it is not sufficient to meet the demand of private developers what more if the Ninth Malaysia Plan’s projects have already come up.

In this respect, Parti Bersatu (PBS) has urged the State government to look into the efficiency of the sole cement producer in the state, Cement Industries Sabah (CIS).

According to its Information Chief, Johnny Mositun, the acute shortage was due to the clinker supply problem at the CIS factory in Sepanggar. It resulted in slower production, thus making it insufficient to cater to the immediate demands of contractors in Sabah.

The State government should consider setting up factories in Sandakan and Tawau which will definitely help to meet the demand as well as reduce cost for contractors, especially transportation charges, he said.

At the same time, he said, the State government should consider issuing temporary import licences so that supply of cement could be maintained. Like in Papar, supply of cement arrive once in a week transported by one lorry, which is only about 100 bags. This is definitely insufficient to meet the demands.

He said the delay in getting supply was hurting contractors especially small-time contractors who have to pay their workers even though no work was being done. Such situation had occurred also last year caused by a delay in the shipment of clinker supplies to the CIS following a series of typhoons in the region.

Last year, the market demand for cement was projected to reach 950,000t more than the CIS’ capacity of 800,000 metric tonnes per year, therefore, the state is to experience a shortfall of 150,000t of cement this year.