Zimbabwe Cement Sector Needs Support From Cheap Imports

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ZIMBABWE’S largest cement producer, PPC Zimbabwe, has called for urgent measures to protect the domestic cement industry from cement imports.

Despite having adequate capacity to supply the local market, Zimbabwe remains a destination for cheap and substandard cement products, which are finding their way through the country’s borders as well as via smuggling, according to PPC Zimbabwe managing director, Kelibone Masiyane.

Masiyane went on to say that the local cement industry’s competitiveness, when compared to regional players, is at a disadvantage, leaving the industry vulnerable to cheaper imports. Moreover, several countries in the region have adopted import tariffs to protect their industries, but this has not been the case for Zimbabwe.

High selling prices have combined with regional overcapacity to fuel import levels into Zimbabwe. Zimbabwe and its six neighbouring countries have a total production capacity of around 39Mta, compared with a total demand of 23.5Mta. South Africa, Mozambique, and Zambia all have considerable levels of overcapacity.

Between 2016-18 Zimbabwe’s cement capacity utilisation rate increased by around 3.1 percentage points from 48.2%, but last year this dropped to around 30%.