A source at Chirundu Border post has revealed to this publication that there is massive corruption on cement imports by some unscrupulous dodgy clearing agencies in cahoots with some rogue Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (ZIMRA) officials.
Revelations reaching this publication are that the few holders of the cement import permits issued by the Ministry of Industry and Commerce were importing far more than would have been allocated on their import permit, thereby flooding the Zimbabwean market with imported cement. This has given unfair competition to the local cement producers.
The source further revealed that the modus operandi being used by the dodgy agencies and rogue ZIMRA officials was that not all consignments would be entered on the draw down schedule resultantly inflating the actual importations. Initially, the Industry Ministry was issuing a maximum of 500 metric tonnes in cement import permits and further reviewed downwards to 125 metric tonnes. However, despite the Ministry of Industry’s intervention to try and cut down on the cement imports, the situation has gone out of hand at the border.
A source within the Ministry of Industry and Commerce told this publication that the Ministry had since removed some products from the open general import licence schedule.
“Having realised that a real threat was being posed on the local cement manufacturers by a surge in cement imports particularly from Zambia, we have decided to remove some products from the general import licence schedule.
“Sinoma and Dangote are import cement products that are on the market selling below US$6 per bag, this has affected the local cement industry that is struggling to compete with the pricing of these import products,” said the source.
Meanwhile, according to Government thrust of protecting local products when they struggle against imports, source stressed that there was an urgent need to safeguard investments made by local cement manufacturers such as Pretoria Portland Cement (PPC), Khaya Zimbabwe (formerly Lafarge), Sino Zimbabwe Cement, Livetouch Cement, Pacstar Cement and Concrete Limited.