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`Tough business environment disrupting cement production`

9th May 2012
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Tanzania Portland Cement Company Ltd Managing Director Pascal Lesoinne presents an annual report at the firm`s shareholders general meeting in Dar es Salaam yesterday.

Power woes, a difficult business environment aggravated by high inflation and the depreciation the Tanzanian shilling against major currencies have affected the performance of Tanzania Portland Cement Company Limited (TPCC).

Speaking during the company’s shareholders annual general meeting in Dar es Salaam yesterday, Twiga Cement Managing Director Pascal Lesoinne said unreliable electricity supply had affected cement production and made the company fail to achieve its goals.

Lesoinne noted that although the company was using gas it also needed additional electricity to its sustain production.

“While operations were affected by inadequate power supply especially last year, emergency power generation brought about a great relief, which was regrettably followed by a significant electricity tariff increase,” he noted.

He further said interruptions of gas supplies in December 2010 and in May last year had clearly indicated a need for investment in gas transport capacity to satisfy growing demand for fuel production.

He said despite such challenges the company had managed to increase its sales due to widespread distribution network.

“With additional clinker capacity (kiln 3 upgrading) coming on stream in May this year and building on our customer oriented focus TPCC will certainly improve its production this year,” he said.

He said a US$17 million upgrading project of the clinker line 3 with the capacity of 300,000 tonnes per annum would bring a total clinker capacity at Wazo Hill to over 1.15 million tonnes per year, making it the single largest clinker manufacturing plant in East Africa.

Meanwhile, TPCC has said it is still waiting for the implementation of a court verdict released in October 2010 for the eviction of trespassers on its land.

The MD said although they understood the complexity of the situation, TPCC trusted the government would solve the problem amicably without compromising the confidence of foreign investors in the country.

He said discussions in relation to the matter were going on between Twiga Cement and the Ministry of Land, Housing and Human Settlements Development.

“If the government fulfils its promises in relation to the trespassers, we will be able to make necessary expansion of quarry operations,” he said.

Lesoinne, however, said land problems in the country were increasing, thus calling on the government to take immediate action to address them.

SOURCE: THE GUARDIAN
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