Venezuelan cement available, though supply limited

Venezuelan cement available, though supply limited
Published: 06 March 2006

Fidelity Investment Inc (FII) has delivered on its promise to have Venezuelan cement by Thursday delivered into Guyana and was selling the product by the truckload yesterday, according to one customer.  The shortage of cement has prompted the government to engage in discussions with the Venezuelan authorities to supply Guyana with 20,000t to 30,000t of the scarce item in four to five shipments. Minister of Tourism, Industry and Commerce, Manzoor Nadir announced this initiative on Tuesday.

One man who bought 13 sacks of cement from the FII bond at High Street told Stabroek News he bought the product at G$1600 per sack and reported that even persons who were buying wholesale quantities were paying the same price. The man noted that around 20 persons were in the bond buying at the time. Stabroek News understands that FII had a limit on cement purchases.

The customer said the 13 sacks he purchased were likely to be used up by this weekend and he would have to wait on another shipment since he cannot afford to buy large quantities of the product.

Most of the major distributors in the city retailed cement early last month for around G$1300 or G$1380 per sack, but with the shortage showing no signs of letting up prices have increased at these distributors by over G$200 per sack. Retailers outside the city are reportedly retailing cement for close to G$2000 or over G$2000 per sack.

Stabroek News understands that half of the supply from FII will likely go to the construction of the Cricket World Cup stadium and to the construction of the Skeldon sugar factory and cogeneration plant. Barrow is of the opinion that if the government is able to obtain cement from Venezuela this will ease the shortage. FII is scheduled to receive another shipment later this month, according to reports.

It is not clear when the Trinidad Cement Ltd’s (TCL) bagging plant, now under construction at the Guyana National Industrial Co Inc, will open. Stabroek News was unable to contact officials of the company for an update.