Cement monopoly damaging Jamaica

Cement monopoly damaging Jamaica
Published: 28 February 2006

The opposition Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) stated yesterday that a monopoly in the cement market is not in the interest of the Jamaican people.

Caribbean Cement Company benefits from a surcharge of 25.83 per cent on imported cement, bringing the total duty to 40.83 per cent. The protection was granted to allow the company sufficient market share to justify a major expansion which is taking place at the factory.

A US$100m expansion and modernisation programme has been started. The major components of the programme are the construction of a new kiln and the expansion of the cement mill capacity. The five-year expansion and modernisation programme involves the construction of a new kiln to double the clinker capacity of the plant to 1.3Mt and the cement capacity to 2Mt.

The company on Friday announced an average 12.5 per cent price increase on cement products to cover the increased cost of food and fuel.

Opposition Senator Shirley Williams said the Government should remove the 25.83 per cent cement surtax and ensure quality standards at the company are maintained as there had been complaints about the product from users.