The Zambian Ministry of Commerce, Trade and Industry has advised Chilanga Cement to consult the ministry before importing cement to offset their production deficit. Commenting on media reports that Chilanga Cement was contemplating importing cement from South Africa to supplement local production, permanent secretary Davidson Chilipamushi said the company should first approach government for import clearance. "We know that Chilanga Cement has had problems with their production equipment of late and some traders have taken advantage of the situation and hiked the price of cement," Chilipamushi said. "But we cannot encourage importation of the commodity because Chilanga Cement has the capacity to satisfy local market demand. That is why we first need to discuss the issue with them." He advised Chilanga Cement management to instead focus on resolving the technical problems facing the company so that normal production could resume.
Of late, there has been a shortage of cement in the country prompting allegations that Chilanga Cement was deliberately creating a shortage to justify a price hike. The company has refuted the allegations and explained that technical problems had forced them to produce below capacity. Earlier this week, Chilanga Cement was reported to be considering the importation of cement from South Africa to offset a deficit on the domestic market.
"Our priority is to improve and support fully our own local production facilities to meet the needs of our domestic market. We are confident of our own ability to meet the demand of both local and regional markets and we remain committed to ensuring that production returns to normalcy in the shortest time possible which will then negate the need for cement imports to meet any shortfall created due to the mill breakdown at our Ndola plant" noted a spokesman.