Government pledges to fix cement problems

Minister for Industry and Trade Abdallah Omari Kigoda (right) shakes hands with Tanzania Portland Cement Co Ltd Managing Director (TPCC) Pascal Lesoinne at the official launch of TPCC’s Twiga Plus brand at the company’s plant at Wazo Hill in Dar es Salaam. Looking on is TPCC Sales and Marketing Director Ekwabi Majigo. (Photo by Staff Photographer)The probe team by Industry and Trade Minister Abdallah Kigoda into the cement industry is expected to table its findings soon, paving way for the government to fix the cement marketing problems in the market.

Dr Kigoda (pictured right), speaking at the launch of Twiga Plus cement, a new product by Tanzania Portland Cement in Dar es Salaam, “The (probe) team will hopefully accomplish its task soon and I’m sure it will give a clear picture of the industry problems and how best to fix them.”

The minister admitted that the cement sector, despite recording steady investment progress, has in recent days faced daunting challenges, including stiff and unfair competition from subsidised cement imports.

He said rapid growth rate in the construction sector in the domestic and neighbouring countries’ markets, has contributed to corresponding growth in the cement manufacturing sector.

Twiga Cement Managing Director Pascal Lesoinne (pictured left), speaking at the event, decried an influx of cement brands from outside the country, creating unfair playing field due to their non-payment of relevant taxes. “...we at Twiga have no fear to compete on fair grounds,” Mr Lesoinne said, adding: “It is only difficult to swallow it when we realise that (cement) importers are not playing with the same rules of the game.”

The untaxed cement imports are reportedly denying the government over 25bn/- of import duties annually. During the first half of this year, two cement factories— Twiga and Tanga Cement— recording profit decline that is said to have deprived the treasury of over 8bn/- in income taxes.

Speaking on the new product, the MD said the new class with 42.5 Megapascals (MPa) that went on sale yesterday would beat all competitors and has been proved to be the strongest brand in the market.

Twiga Cement Production Manager Vijay Prakash Singh said Twiga Plus is five times stronger than its predecessor— Twiga Extra— that had a mere 10MPa. 

“With (Twiga Plus) block maker can now produce 20 blocks per bag instead of 15 blocks using Twiga Extra,” Mr Singh said, “This means more revenue and additional strength on the products that can go up to 60MPa in three to four days.”

MPa is a metric unit of measuring compressive— stresses and pressure— strength of concrete and thus, the higher the MPa, the stronger the product.

Best One Limited Administrative Manager Beatrice Shayo said the new product will shift their reliance from imported cement to Twiga cement. 

“We use a lot of imported stuff as we look for extra strength on our construction works...but I think we’ll now turn to Twiga Plus... its strength is far better than imported products,” Ms Shayo said.

Twiga cement is the first cement producer in the country and the market leader, currently producing 1.3 million tonnes per year.
Source: Daily News, reported by Abduel Elinaza from Dar es Salaam, Tanzania
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