Cement from Zambia is cheaper because it is of a poorer quality, Minister of Industry and Commerce Sekai Kanhutu-Nzenza told the Senate.
She had been asked by Senator Voice Chinake why cement from Zambia cost US$3.50 while that in Zimbabwe cost between US$10 and US$12 when it was manufactured locally.
Kanhutu-Nzenza said while it was true that cement from Zambia was cheaper, a report by the Consumer Protection Council had established that cement from Zambia did not set well when applied on the floor and when used on walls, that wall might collapse.
She, however, said her ministry would talk to local cement manufacturers to reduce their prices so that the product was more affordable to the people.
Q & A:
HON. SEN. CHINAKE: My question is directed to the Minister of Industry and Commerce. We manufacture cement in this country and it costs between US$10 to US$12 but the same cement in Zambia is about US$3.50. Why are we not behaving like the Zambians? People will end up going to Zambia to buy cheaper cement.
THE MINISTER OF INDUSTRY AND COMMERCE (HON. DR. KANHUTU-NZENZA):
Cement is a key product in construction, infrastructure and housing. The prices that you have made reference to are true. In Zambia, it varies from US$3.50 to US$6. There are differences on the cement that is manufactured in Zambia and the one that we have in Zimbabwe. The differences are in quality and standards.
I have a report that came from the Consumer Protection Council and they have highlighted that the cement from Zambia does not set very well when you apply it on the floor and if you use it on the wall, that wall may collapse. As the custodians of quality and standards in this country, we do not want to see that happening.
In Zimbabwe, we have three companies that manufacture cement such as PPC, La Farge and SinoZim. SinoZim is mass producing cement. This particular cement has been used in the construction of new Parliament building and it is the same cement that is being used on the major roads like the one from Beitbridge to Chirundu.
It is a strong type of cement. Be that as it may, I urge that as Zimbabweans, we should look at the durability of this product because such type of cement will last a long time. As a Ministry, we will talk to those that produce cement so that they can reduce their price so that it can be affordable to the majority of the people.
I thank you.