CEMENT prices in Chipata have skyrocketed to K90 per pocket from K70.
Most traders have attributed the increase to the recent upward adjustment in fuel pump prices by the Energy Regulation Board.
But Eastern Province Chamber of Commerce and Industry president Thomas Mtonga said it was difficult to justify the sharp increase and hoped the prices would stabilise.
“Fuel has gone up, then there is this excise duty which is K2 per pocket of cement and when you look at the current price of K90 per pocket, maybe it’s a bit difficult to justify. Overall, the combination of factors are at play like the production cost, the excise duty and transport cost might have led to the increment,” Mtonga said.
He said the increase in the price of cement would now make construction expensive.
“We take it that now we have two companies that are manufacturing cement, so in-terms of monopoly, it’s like it is not there because the two companies operating in a competitive environment will be able to provide cement not almost at the same price but at an affordable price,” said Mtonga.