Cement producers have agreed to offer 15 percent discount for cement purchased for the ongoing Operation Garikai/Hlalani Kuhle for the next six months.
The agreement was reached at a meeting held yesterday between the Ministry of Industry and International Trade and cement producers. "It has been a fruitful meeting," Industry and International Trade Minister Cde Obert Mpofu said. The cement will be purchased through the Department of Housing. Cde Mpofu said the meeting was in response to concerns raised by the public over the unwarranted escalation of the price of building materials, particularly cement.
"We felt that the rate at which cement has been going up was unsustainable and Cabinet thought it was vital to engage the industry to identify areas of concern, which include input costs, among other issues, so that the problem can be addressed," said Cde Mpofu.
The latest development would go some way in expediting the operation, whose progress had been stalled by ever rising costs of building materials. Last year, the Government embarked on Operation Garikai/Hlalani Kuhle as part of its national mandate to offer decent accommodation to its people.
Presently, several core houses have been completed under the programme countrywide, benefiting thousands of families. Industry players spoke about challenges affecting their operations and called upon the Government to intervene. "At the moment coal is in short supply and generally, we have been facing constraints in sourcing raw materials", chairman of the Zimbabwe Cement Producers’ Association Mr Gavin Stephens said. In response, Industry Permanent Secretary Retired Colonel Christian Katsande said the Government would put in place measures to address the difficulties. "We will pursue various options to ensure that the industry gets raw materials in time," Rtd Col Katsande said.