The quantities of cement currently being imported are not sufficient to meet the huge demand on the local market of Zambia, a cabinet permanent secretary has said in Lusaka.
Times of Zambia Tuesday quoted Davison Chilipamushi, permanent secretary of the Ministry of Commerce, Trade and Industry, as saying that the Zambian government has simplified the whole process of cement imports to facilitate more importation of the commodity.
"There could be a few difficulties for individuals and companies to import cement but we have tried to simplify the whole process because we need to import more cement into the country," he said.
The shortfall has much to do with the huge demand for cement emanating from the fast growing economy, he said.
Only 700,000t of cement are produced annually in the southern African country.
Cement prices sky-rocketed from late last year, reaching as high as 50,000 kwacha (US$12.5) per 50kg bag from the original 37,000 kwacha (US$9.25).
Increased demand spurred by the booming mining and construction industries was cited as the reason for the movement in the cement price.
The Zambian government lifted in late 2006 the restrictions on the importation of cement to cater for the market demand.
Meanwhile, Chilanga Cement PLC invested US$120m to build a new plant which will be operational by June 2008.