Cement sector investigated

The government has formed a team to investigate allegations that the Tanzanian market has been flooded with cheap imported cement.

Local cement manufacturers also claim that no tax is paid for the imported cement.

Industry and Trade ministry’s director for industries Eline Sikazwe told a Parliamentary standing committee for Economic Affairs, Industries and Trade at the weekend that a seven-member team to investigate the matter has been formed. 

“We expect it to come up with a detailed report once the process is complete…the report will then be presented to the council of ministers for further discussions,” Ms Sikazwe said.

The team was formed by Trade minister Abdallah Kigoda.

Members of the Parliamentary team were visiting Tanzania Portland Cement Company Limited (TPCC) plant at Wazo Hill in Dar es Salaam.

TPCC managing director Pascal Lesoinne, called upon the government to put in place additional anti-dumping and countervailing duties that will help to check influx of cement imports into Tanzania’s market.

“If the vice is not checked, it would lead to a complete collapse of the blue-chip companies in Tanzania and will cause the  local economy to  fall. 

"There is currently a very stiff competition from the imported cheap cement, especially from Pakistan. Worse still, subsidies provided by exporting countries allow for the dumping of surplus cement into the Tanzanian market,” he said.

He said importers of cement use loopholes in import and customs systems by under declaring and paying between 5-10 per cent of import duty, thus causing the country a loss of up to Sh25 billion each year.

“Tanzania does not need imported cement since there are enough local producers to meet the country’s demand,” he added.

Kigoma South MP David Kafulila expressed concern over unfair competition saying: “This is a very serious matter. We as a committee cannot allow this to prevail as is impacts on the country’s economic development efforts.”

The cement firm also announced plans to increase its production capacity from the current 1.3 million tonnes to 2 million tonnes per annum after the commissioning of its new plant set for October next year.
Source: The Citizen, reported from Dar es Salaam, Tanzania

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