Honduras will remove duties on imported cement, La Prensa quoted commerce minister Norman García as saying. The move would be due to pressure from the construction industry, said the report, adding that in the past two weeks local cement producers increased bagged cement prices 12%. The report went on to say that this caused the price in some stores to increase to almost 90 lempiras (US$5.05) a bag.
García said he would will look at other ways of reducing cement costs, including price freezes. He added that anyone seeking to buy duty-free cement would have to apply for it through the ministry. The president of Honduras’ construction industry chamber, Elvin Santos, was quoted as saying that article 339 of the constitution prohibits businesses from engaging in monopolies, price-fixing and hoarding of products. He said the government should investigate why companies had increased their prices by 12% and check how much money they made from the increases.
For his part, Jaime Quiján, president of the country’s cement institute, said the price reflected the investment made in the product by cement companies and said prices in Honduras were lower than elsewhere in Central America.