Cement prices have remained high due to an ongoing shortage, despite the country’s biggest local manufacturer, Cimerwa Cement Ltd resuming production almost three weeks ago, Rwanda Today has learnt.
A mini-survey done by Rwanda Today last week shows that a 50kg bag of Cimerwa cement is being sold for Rwf14,000 up from Rwf8,500 in Kayonza District in Eastern Province and in Kigali City.
However, in some parts of the country like Musanze district in the Northern Province, a 50kg bag of cement costs Rwf15,000.
Yet, a week ago Cimerwa reassured the public that prices would be returning to normal after increasing its daily production capacity to 1,500MT from around 1,000MT.
However, the Ministry of Trade and Industry said despite Cimerwa resuming production, it was still facing technical hitches, which has forced the company to produce below capacity, dropping by over 500 per cent.
“After the maintenance exercise, Cimerwa’s machines broke down and this is fifth day since the issues started,” Vicent Munyeshyaka, the Minister of Trade and Industry told parliamentarians last week.
The company’s $3.3 million investment for an upgrade and maintenance of the factory was expected to increase its production capacity by 30 per cent from 400,000 tonnes to almost 520,000 tonnes annually. This would be 86 per cent of the factory’s 600,000 tonnes installed capacity.
Pretoria Portland Cement’s management — the biggest shareholder in Cimerwa — recently said that the upgrade was meant to get rid of outdated technology that has been limiting its production capacity and increasing the cost of operation.
According to Cimerwa’s factory management, upgrading and maintenance works at the factory saw the company suffer losses of upto 65 per cent and this could affect earnings.
The company has also been struggling with high production and operation costs. It has also been facing power outages as well as power supply fluctuations, which saw the factory lose over 22,000MT last year due to unsustainable power supply.