Tanzanian government accepts cement imports

Tanzanian government accepts cement imports
Published: 27 February 2013


Tanzania's government has said that it could not put trade barriers on imported cement as requested by domestic cement companies, because local production is still insufficient.

Tanzania's Minister for Industry, Trade and Marketing, Dr Abdallah Kigoda said despite the expected progress from cement industries, the government will still allow cement imports until local producers meet domestic demand.

Kigoda admitted that although imported cement is sold at a lower price compared to locally-produced cement, it should stand as an eye opener for local industries to become competitive.

Tanzania has three cement factories: Tanga Cement, Mbeya Cement and Twiga Cement, all of which are operational, while four others are in the final construction stages.

The country's cement production capacity stands at 3.25Mta while the actual demand is almost 4Mta.
"In order to control importation of more cement, local factories had to increase production to meet the demand as the country was surrounded by potential market opportunities such as Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) and the East Africa Community (EAC)," Kigoda said.

Minister Kigoda clarified that the government was aware of the challenges facing local industries, such as unreliable power, but added that it was taking measures to stabilise the situation. He mentioned another challenge as high distribution costs caused by poor infrastructure, noting that the government was working to improve railway transport.

Jean Junon, who heads the Board of Twiga's Cement's parent company HeidelbergCement Co, was recently quoted in a local media as saying that the cement industry is still facing a number of challenges, including massive importation of subsidised cement.

Junon said that the upgrade of Twiga Cement's Kiln Line No 3 would help to expand production.