Cement prices go up as traders blame scarcity

01Jul 2020
The Guardian Reporter
Dar es Salaam
The Guardian
Cement prices go up as traders blame scarcity

RETAIL cement prices in the local market have increased by between 500/- and 590/- per bag of 50 kilograms starting last weekend, consumers who are currently building strictures have said.

Cement prices are on the increase in Dar es Salaam due to increased demand.

Members of the public said the product’s prices in some parts of the city such as Mbagala, Kigamboni, Gongo la Mboto, Mwenge, Kimara and Tegeta have increased from an average of 11,500/- per bag to between 12,000/- and 12,200/-.

“We are selling at increased prices because wholesale prices from our major dealers have also gone up since last week,” said Juma Idrissa from Mbagara Rangi Tatu who added that the product is also in short supply.

“We don’t know why the product is not readily available since last week,” said Tatu Adam, a large scale dealer for cement and other construction materials. She said they have been asking manufacturers reasons behind the scarcity but many of them have blamed growing demand due to government’s ongoing major infrastructure projects.

A survey by The Guardian across major suburbs of Mbagala, Kigamboni, Mwenge, Kimara and Tegeta found out that not all cement companies have increased prices although major producers such as Dangote, Twiga and Nyati have their products with increased prices.

An official from Fair Competition Commission said they are already investigating the matter because although demand for cement is increasing, the local capacity has also increased in recent years with very little imports.

“We have heard about this artificial scarcity and we are investigating, anyone found to be hoarding the product will be prosecuted,” the FCC official who preferred not to be identified warned.

According to official statistics, the country’s annual consumption for cement stands at over 11.5 million metric tons by end last year with the largest manufacturers being  Dangote Cement of Mtwara, Tanga Cement and Twiga Cement of Wazo Hill in Dar es Salaam which have a combined capacity of 7.5 million tons.

Twiga was expected to increase its capacity this year with a U$20 million investment to expand and modernise its facility which will increase capacity by 300,000 tonnes per year by end this year. Twiga Cement currently produces 2.3 million tonnes per annum.