The Zambian government intends to break the monopoly enjoyed by Chilanga Cement Plc with a view of stabilising the escalating price of cement. Commerce, Trade and Industry minister Dipak Patel announced in a ministerial statement in Parliament yesterday investors needed to pump in US$100m to provide competition in the sector. Mr Patel whose statement was prompted by a point of order by Kasenengwa MP Timothy Nyirenda (UNIP) in November last year, admitted that the firm dominated the cement market locally and in the region through its shareholders, Lafarge.
Mr Nyirenda had accused Government of protecting Chilanga Cement by banning cement imports and not following up reports of low quality cement. He said the company had also been ordered to produce normal Portland cement and the new Mphamvu brand simultaneously in view of the apprehension among users. Asked by Sinazongwe MP Raphael Muyanda (UPND) why coal for cement production was being imported from Hwange in Zimbabwe , Mr Patel said there was chaos at the local Maamba Collieries but hoped calm would return since the coal mine had been readvertised for privatisation.