The Ethipopean Ministry of Trade and Industry announced that it had signed agreements with five trading companies and other 10 construction companies to import cement, says The Reporter (Addis Ababa).
Meanwhile, Salini Construction, which is known for its engagement in electric power projects of EEPCO, managed to ship 6000t of cement to the port of Djibouti and the product is expected to be transported to the country and hit the market very shortly.
Ato Fantaye Biftu, an advisor to the minister, told the press that a total of 42 applications to get the import permit was submitted to his office. However, on the basis of the 11-point directives issued earlier, only 15 companies were found to be eligible to get the permition. He said that most of the applications which were turned down were due to the consideration given to the foreign currency sources to be used in financing the imports.
Most of them proposed to get the currency from business partners abroad but the ministry did not accept such arrangements since sooner or later the sum obtained will be paid in foreign currency.
On the other hand, a new cement factory to be established by the joint venture of Ethiopian and Chinese investors is to start production within eight to ten months. Fantaye noted that the ministry is doing its level best to smooth out bureaucratic obstacles and said that once the factory becomes operational it is expected to produce 500,000tpa of cement.
Concerning prices he said that the importer has given an indicative price level though it is not expected to restore the previous price level. The proposed price will help to stabilize the market significantly. Furthermore, the importer can not sell the cement above thits proposed price ceiling.
It was learnt that part of the criteria which say a minimum of 25,000 tons and above have to be imported at a time was revised. Construction companies which import for their own consumption are allowed to bring in 5000 tons and above to the country. Finally, he noted that in less than two months, considerable amount of cement will enter the market. Besides Salini Construction, Munchen fÃ¼r Munchen and other companies are given the permit to do the job.