The shortage of cement on the Zambian market is a result of ongoing maintenance works at the Ndola plant of the Chilanga Cement, the country’s sole cement producer, a minister has said.
Commerce, Trade and Industry Minister Kenneth Konga was cited by local newspaper Times of Zambia as saying that production of cement had dropped by about 40 per cent as a result of the maintenance works.
Currently, Chilanga Cement is capable of producing 650,000t of cement annually, which falls short of local market demand spurred by construction especially in the copper mining industry.
Retail price of cement in Zambian market has went up dramatically to 60,000 kwacha (about US$14) per 50kg pocket from 35,000 kwacha (US$8) in early 2006.
Meanwhile, increased demand for cement in South Africa arising from construction works in preparation for the 2010 World Cup is affecting the cement supply in Zambia, an official with the cement company has said earlier.
However, the Zambian government would not stop the exports of cement to other regional markets despite the shortage in local market, Konga disclosed.
He added that the situation would normalise in the next few weeks as the production of cement would resume to normal levels.