Higher imports required in Jamaica

Higher imports required in Jamaica
Published: 11 August 2006

The Hardware Merchants Association (HMA) has added its voice to that of the Incorporated Master Builders Association in calling for urgent measures to ease the cement shortage baffecting the island. President of the Hardware Merchants Association, Errol Salkey, says his association had warned that the measures the government had put in place would only deal with the crisis in the short run.

“In one of our last meetings there was some cost adjustment to the cement being imported from Cuba. The question I posed was what would we do when there is the shortage of or delay in shipment of Cuban cement because once they have shipped the cement to the island you’ll find that the hardware merchant and the building sector go for that cement this is what we are seeing now,” said Mr. Salkey.

“We know that Carib Cement is unable in its present state or even when the expansion is done is unable to satisfy the market demand,” he continued. Mr. Salkey argues that heavy importation will have to continue to boost supply which is reportedly 30 per cent below demand.

“What we need is a large injection from some other private sector source of cement to off set the shortage. Government has been trying to get some out of Venezuela so we are hoping that we will get some of that soon.” Earlier this year the Government has waived the duty on imported cement in an effort to get the private sector to fill the shortage left by Caribbean Cement Company.