Cement prices have started to ease when the country’s largest cement maker — Cimerwa — resumed daily production at full capacity.
This comes after almost two months of high cement prices, which more than doubled on the local market due to shortage.
The shortage of cement supply on the market, coupled with high prices had affected small retailers who operate with small capital, forcing others to close shop.
“We have had some cement in the stock bought at high prices, and we now have to bear that loss because we have to keep on business,” said Ellen Kamarebe, a cement retailer in Kayonza district.
A mini survey on cement market found that 50 kilogramme of Cimerwa cement costs between Rwf11, 000 and 9, 000, while the imported Hima cement from Uganda costs Rwf10,000, from Rwf15,000.
“Cimerwa’s cement supplies started to get on the market by the end of last week, and has now resulted in the prices getting back normal,” said Sylvie Ingabire, a cement dealer in Kayonza district.
However, there are still disparities on the cement prices, which are blamed on the slight cement supply outside urban areas.
For instance, in Kayonza district of eastern province, a 50 kg of Cimerwa cement costs Rwf12,000 down from the Rwf15, 000 a few weeks ago. While Cimerwa had assured its clients to bridge supply within three weeks, this process was delayed by technical glitches at the factory.
Vincent Munyeshyaka, Minister for Trade and Industry recently told the Member of Parliament that under the factory’s full operations, the ministry would be ensuring the cement price is back to normal.
“We have set up the joint team with Prime Minister Office and ministry of finance to work on Cimerwa disputes to make sure the supply back normal as well as the prices,” he said.
Cimerwa, the currently solo cement maker in the country, is operating at 65 per cent of its 600,000 tonnes installed capacity.
The company expects to reach full capacity mid-2020. The setup of the country’s second cement producer — Kigali Cements Company — has been derailed by an ongoing legal dispute with the former owner, Rwanda Enterprise Investment Company.