Twiga Cement defends product’s ‘marginal’ price increase

03Jul 2020
The Guardian Reporter
Dar es Salaam
The Guardian
Twiga Cement defends product’s ‘marginal’ price increase

AN increase of retail cement prices in the country by some cement companies is in line with falling oil prices, fluctuation of the shilling and inflation, among other factors.

Twiga Cement’s factory at Wazo Hill in Dar es Salaam.

Tanzania Portland Cement Company Limited’s Head of Marketing, Vyes Mataigne said in Dar es Salaam this week that his company was compelled to increase prices which its major distributor pay to compensate its production costs.

“We have not increased any prices since last year and the latest increase of about three percent affects our major distributors only who are already making better margins because of falling oil market prices,” said Mataigne.

He dismissed talk of TPCC whose brand name is Twiga in the market, colluding with Dangote Cement Tanzania Limited and Nyati Cement Tanzania Limited to impose the 590/- per 50 kilograms bags increase as untrue.

“Twiga Cement is a market leader and so when we increase the price to cover our own costs, others will soon follow,” he said while stressing that fair market rules have not been violated because other major cement producers such as Tanga Cement Plc have not increased their products.

He pointed out that the Wazo Hill based company has invested heavily this year to expand its capacity to meet the growing domestic demand pointing out that such investment comes with increased costs through maintenance and borrowing of cash from banks.

“Because of fluctuations of the shilling and increased inflation, we have been forced to increase prices marginally,” he added noting that natural gas prices have also increased during the past one year.

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. 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.