Tanzania cement producers raise alarm on import ‘cheats’

Revenue authorities in the East African region have reported over 60bn/- loss through misinvoicing and other malpractices, a study by the East Africa Cement Producers Association (EACPA) has stated.

The Tanzania Portland Cement Company (TPCC) Managing Director and Area Manager East Africa, Mr Alfonso Rodriguez, said the matter has been reported in several occasions to relevant authorities.

"However, cement consumption per capita still remains low in the region comparing with West Africa and other emerging markets," he said in an interview with the Daily News in Dar es Salaam.

He said importation of substandard cement is mainly a threat to the end user and security of buildings and infrastructure in the region, especially Tanzania.

"Lack of proper quality certification at origin and permissively of Tanzania Bureau of Standards (TBS) officials has allowed uncertified cement to dump products in the domestic market. creating unfair competition situation that needs to be addressed," he said.

He also said East Africa region has become an overcapacity market, with over five million metric tonnes over capacity year to date. 

Yet the EAC governments lack of strategic vision to protect its key industrial sector and continue granting licences for new production capacity building bringing industry utilisation to lower than acceptable rates.

Mr Rodriguez called upon for an open and honest dialogue between the industry representing body, the East Africa Cement Producer Association and the competent authorities at country and regional level to sort out issues in cement business.

"Strategic priorities should be set to guarantee the viability of an industrial sector that is key for the further development of our countries," he said.

However, with expectation of some industry consolidation as new capacity comes on line and the market becoming more competitive, East Africa cement supply will be fully guaranteed by the local industry for the next 10 to 15 years.

He said that biggest markets in EAC are Tanzania and Kenya, with the major drivers being the fast growing population and urbanisation.
Source: Daily News, reported by Sebastian Mrindoko,from Dar es Salaam, Tanzania
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