The establishment of uniform prices for retail sales of cement will not affect housing construction prices, as the cement prices applied to construction organisations have not changed, a source at the construction ministry told local press agency BelaPAN.
As an executive with Krychawtsementnashyfer, a major cement manufacturer, said to BelaPAN, the construction ministry has directed that the disbursing price of the PTs 500-D20 cement should be 300,000 rubels per ton instead of the previous 153,000.
"We don’t know at what price our cement was sold at stores before; we only know that our new disbursing price has been set at about 8000 rubels for a 25kg sack, and 14,000 rubels for a 50kg sack," a source with another manufacturer, Krasnaselskbudmateryyaly, told BelaPAN.
"There is no cement all over Minsk, it simply isn’t being sold to construction organisations," said a representative of Aresa-Servis-Bud, a leading construction company.
The uniform price for retail sales of cement was introduced on June 6 in a move to stem the resale of cement for profiteering purposes, which was viewed as the main factor behind the acute shortage of cement throughout the country.
Construction Minister Alyaksandr Selyaznyow said earlier that cement manufacturers would increase their output from 3.3-3.7Mt in 2007. "This would be enough to meet the domestic demand and to sell about 400,000t abroad," he said, noting that following their modernization, the Belarusian cement works will annually manufacture more than 6Mt by 2010, twice as much as in 2005.
Although cement supplies to the consumers’ market have doubled this year, this has not made up for the shortage, the minister told the National Assembly in late May. According to him, an analysis made together with the police and prosecutors revealed that major buyers of cement were people who purchased it for resale.