Mozambique: cement prices soar

Mozambique: cement prices soar
Published: 23 September 2016

Tagged Under: Mozambique cement prices 

The price of cement has risen sharply in the northern Mozambican province of Nampula, with retailers across the province charging MZN480 (US$6.30) for a 50kg sack, compared with MZN350 (US$4.50) just three months ago.

In July the price rose from MZN350 to MZN380, followed by a further rise in August to MZN450, and to MZN480 at present. Some establishments in Nampula city are even charging MZN500. Worse still, some retailers appear to be illegally altering the weight of the sacks, reported All Africa.

One consumer, Rafique Salimo, said: "We are obliged to be very careful when we buy cement. The price is going up with every passing day, and many of these retailers are reducing the number of kilos in a sack. It's very possible to buy a sack which only contains 40kg".

Another buyer, Sandro Narciso, urged the Nampula Municipal Council or the Provincial Directorate of Industry and Trade to intervene to end the swindle and ensure that a 50kg sack really does contain 50kg.

The Nampula provincial delegate of the National Economic Activities Inspectorate (INAE), Elio Rareque, recognised the difficulties caused by the rising price of cement. He said that, although INAE is working to avoid speculation, there was no way it could oblige retailers to drop their prices.

Mr Rareque said the prices rise because the wholesale price, charged at the gate of the two cement factories in the port city of Nacala, is also continuing to rise. The plants, he explained, put up their prices on the first day of the month in July, August and September, and justified this with the rise in the cost of imported raw materials, notably clinker. Like other imports, the price has been pushed up by the depreciation of the Mozambican currency.

The latest statement from one of the Nacala plants states that, as from 1 September, a 50kg sack of cement will cost, not MZN420 as alleged by the anonymous retailer but MZN380 or MZN398 depending on the grade.

As for selling underweight sacks of cement, Mr Rareque said this was indeed happening, but INAE had cracked down against the practice, closing down temporarily five retailers found to be cheating their customers in this way.