By Njiraini Muchira
An unprecedented boom in the building and construction sector, which recorded a growth of 4.3 per cent last year, has resulted in an increase in cheap imports from countries like Egypt and Pakistan.
Cemtech Ltd Managing Director Rajesh Rawal said annual local production of cement has significantly increased following the entry of new manufactures and capacity enhancement of established players.
“There is enough local production to meet demand and the Government should therefore increase tariffs on imports,” he said. According to the East Africa Community Customs Union, cement is labelled as a sensitive product and the common external tariff (CET) on cement was capped at 40 per cent before it was reduced to 25 per cent four years ago due to cement deficit.
The entry of new players in the industry coupled by capacity expansion among existing manufacturers has however pushed regional installed capacity to 9 million tonnes in 2011 from 5.8 million tonnes in 2008. Annual production has increased from 4.3 million tonnes to 6 million tonnes within the same period. Besides established manufacturers like Bamburi, East Africa Portland Cement and Athi River Mining, new entrants include Mombasa Cement, National Cement, Cemtech Ltd and Savannah Cement.
According to Rawal, Cemtech plant that is under construction in Pokot with a capacity of 1.2 million tonnes per annum at a cost of Sh12 billion will be commissioned next year.
The company is also putting up a 24 MW power plant to supply the cement plant and sell excess power to the national grid.
“Demand for cement will continue and we believe with the increased local capacity we can supply not only the Kenyan but also regional markets,” he said. In Kenya, cement consumption increased by 10.6 per cent from 3.1
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