By Mohamed Lamin Banya
The Minister of Trade and Industry, Dr. Hinga Sandy has disclosed that more than two million bags of cement have arrived in the country to ease acute shortage. He added that, new taxes and high cost of clearing goods by cement manufacturers and importers were the reasons for the recent shortage and hike in prize. Dr. Sandy was speaking at the weekly Ministry of Information and Communications press conference at Youyi Building in Freetown.
The recent shortage and increment in the price of cement for the past weeks raised eyebrows. The ministry in the past few days had engaged manufacturers and importers of cement and other building materials.
Dr. Sandy noted that, challenges of electricity, grinding machines and problems with ships bound for Sierra Leone by the two cement producing factories in the country, LEOCEM and DANGOTE are also the reason for the shortage and increment in price of cement.
“The importers have issues around new taxes which were challenging them to make more imports to the country and also issues of clearing goods at the quay,” he said.
He further explained that, the intervention and engagement by the ministry with cement producers should make people understand that trade in the country is liberal.
LEOCEM according to him will be selling 50kg of 32.5 grade bag of cement for 60 thousand Leones and that the 42. 5 grade will be sold at 63 thousand Leones.
He further noted that, DANGOTE cement will be sold at 57 thousand Leones because the packaging is done here in Sierra Leone, citing that, the imported cement will be sold between 61-63 thousand Leones per bag.
Mr. Sandy added that, the ministry has tried to collaborate with the port authority to slice the cost of clearing cement to 30% and that they have also cut down on the cost for destination inspection.
He added that, some people tried to capitalize on the shortage of cement in the country