Tanzanian cement producers have been urged to review their profit margins to make cement more affordable and thus increase per capita consumption, according to local press reports.
The address was made by Industry and Trade Ministry permanent secretary (PS), Joyce Mapunjo, at an event organised by Tanzania Portland Cement, The Guardian reports.
Ms Mapunjo said Tanzania’s cement demand is lower than neighbouring countries and that low purchasing power is another concern, resulting in low per capita demand. “I would like to register that local consumers are bitterly complaining on the the high prices of cement products,” she said. The PS proposed a joint meeting between the government and stakeholders to see how the problem can be addressed.
According to her the cement industry also faces various challenges which need collaborative efforts to be alleviated. The major constraint in Tanzania’s competitive platform has been on how to ensure the provision of cheap and reliable energy which is a vital input in manufacturing especially in cement industry.
Congratulating efforts taken by the company in finding out the alternative source of energy from Songo Songo to Wazo Hill, she said, the flow of natural gas is a tremendous intervention in an effort to substitute expensive Heavy Furnace Oil (HFO) and indeed a turnaround of the prospects of the company.
Another challenge is distribution costs due to poor roads, traffic jams, lack of railway wagons and locomotives and high transport cost arising from high fuel expenses. She assured investors that the government is endeavouring to address the problems.
In the five year plan 2011-2016 launched by President Jakaya Kikwete in June last year, he put infrastructure and manufacturing sectors as among the top three priorities.
For his part, TPCC board chairman Dr Bernard Scheifele, said the company is ready to make further investment and contribute to infrastructure construction.