The Department of Trade and Industry is contemplating on shortening the inspection period for imported cement to make it easier for imports to come in times of higher prices of locally produced cement. Trade and Industry Secretary Cesar V. Purisima issued the statement in light of the continued increases in the prices of cement. He said that by reducing the inspection period for imported cement, the supply of cement can easily be increased if prices of local cement are high. At present the inspection period for imported cement takes 28 days before they are ready for local distribution. The inspection is required to determine the quality of the imported cement.
But Purisima is not closing the doors for domestic cement manufacturers. He said he is willing to hear the side of local cement manufacturers on the rise of cement prices even as he was bent on issuing a consolidated order reducing the import safeguard duty by P10. "We are going to discuss the issue with cement manufacturers this week so we can agree on a more rational solution," Purisima said. Purisima noted the high prices of cement in Davao despite the presence of a cement manufacturing plant.
Purisima visited Davao recently and was puzzled as to the high prices of cement in that area at dealer’s price of P137 per bag and ex-plant of P131 per bag even when there is a cement firm there. Comparatively, price of cement in Metro Manila is placed at P125 per bag. He said that cement prices in Davao should have been lower because the cost of power in Mindanao is supposed to be lower than in Manila. Another thing he observed was that the presence of a single cement brand in retail outlets he visited in Davao. "There was only one brand which tickled my imagination," he said. He, however, said that allowances for transport fares should be given for cement that comes from Manila to other areas with no cement manufacturing plants. Purisima said that cement cuts across a wide sector of industries involved in construction thus it is important to have a stable price and supply situation for cement.