LAFARGE Zambia Plc, who are one of the largest cement manufacturers in Zambia, says the cement industry in the country has become very saturated.

Speaking when he paid a courtesy call on President Edgar Lungu at State House on Tuesday, October 1, 2019, Lafarge Zambia Plc Chief Executive Officer Jimmy Khan said the cement industry in Zambia is over supplied and has become heavily competitive.

He said Zambia’s cement consumption current stands at around 2.2 million tonnes compared to a production of about 5 million tonnes.

Khan explained that the competitive nature of the business has forced his company to hike the price of cement by 25 per cent to stay in the business.

He said his firm made losses of about K43 million due to many players coming in the sector and that management saw it fit to increase prices in order to stay afloat and operate.

He praised government for the infrastructure development and said his company has moved much of its cargo from road to railway as it pushes to regain a fair share of the market which stands at about 33 per cent.

Khan said Lafarge will continue to use the Mpulungu Port in Northern Province to export cement to the east African market.

He proposed to government to consider the option of building concrete roads as an alternative to the costly bituminous ones.

And President Lungu said government remains committed to supporting the private sector as the engine for economic growth and development.

President Lungu said government’s decision to retain the Value Added Tax (VAT) as a system for collecting tax as opposed to the proposed Sales Tax demonstrates that government is willing to listen to the business sector in order to ensure that the economy meets stakeholder expectations.

He said government is negotiating for a financing facility with the World Bank to expand and improve the port facilities at Mpulungu in order to boost cargo business and exports to East Africa.

And Special Assistant to the President for Press and public relations Isaac Chipampe told journalists in an interview that President Lungu has encouraged private companies like Lafarge to consider engaging in environment friendly business activities and operations.

Chipampe said President Lungu urged the private sector to invest in recycling operations as opposed to burning products such as plastics, which harm the environment.

He said the Head of State says government will continue to encourage the private sector to use railway as the alternative to road transport for transporting cargo in order to safe roads from damage.

He said recycling ventures can help create employment for youths in the country.

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Lafarge Cement President Edgar Lungu