Affordable imported cement edge out local brands in market

Friday November 12 2021
New Content Item (5)

Cement traders say imported products from other countries in the region are making local brands less competetive. PHOTO | CYRIL NDEGEYA


Local cement is still unable to compete with the imports as customers opt for cheaper products from Tanzania.

Traders fault local cement makers for high prices, which has given an edge to cement imported from neighbouring countries.

“Rwanda-made cement is still expensive, and this has made imports from Tanzania take the lion's share in the market, customers normally come looking for local options” said Kayiranga Godfrey, a cement trader in Kigali.

“The quality for both prime and Cimerwa is unquestionable, customers like the quality but whatever they have to do, they should work on price reduction.”

A bag of Prime Cement retails at at Rwf9,100 while Cimerwa PPC sells it's cement at Rwf9,300 per bag. Twiga cement on the other hand goes for Rwf8,700, while Dangote goes for Rwf8,600 on the local market.

“The coming of Prime Cement was a huge relief, it came at a time the market had a shortage it helped stabilise the market in terms of supply and prices, it should have capitalised on that” said Mr Kayiranga.


Other cement imports on the Rwandan market like Simba from Kenya, Bamburi from Tanzania are also cheaper than the local brands.

“At the beginning demand was high and supply was low. We have tried to accelerate our supply; we try to stock as much as we can,” said Ploutilla Munezero, the sales administrator at Prime Cement.

Experts attribute the success of regional cement imports in other markets o their ability to produce large volumes and supply several markets, which enables them to enjoy economies of scale hence having the leeway to charge less.

Rwandan cement makers incur heavy costs in production and importation of raw materials, most of which come from outside, and the cargo disruptions caused by the Covid-19 pandemic even made things worse by significantly driving up costs.

Last year presented mixed fortunes for local cement makers. For example, market leader Cimerwa went for months without producing during the first lockdown.

However, the installation of the limestone investment helped Cimerwato consistently realise a plant run rate of 80 percent of the nominal capacity of 600kt in the second half of 2020.