DANGOTE Cement Zambia Limited says the closure of Chambeshi Metals has deprived the company gypsum the product used to manufacture cement.
DCZL chief financial officer Bright Tembo also said the depreciation of the kwacha has impacted on costs of imported materials.
Tembo said this when Copperbelt minister Japhen Mwakalombe visited the cement plant in Masaiti on Saturday.
“The closure of Chambeshi Metals has deprived DCZL of a reasonably priced Gypsum. This is the product we use to manufacture cement. We have local suppliers who are quoting in dollars and demanding payment in dollars. The depreciation of the kwacha has severely impacted on our costs of imported raw materials,” said Tembo. “[And] The demand by the Ministry of Mines for DCZL to remit its contribution to the Environmental Protection Fund over a 5-year-period is too onerous.”
In response, Mwakalombe said it was economic sabotage for a company to quote prices in dollars.
“We are concerned with the prices of cement. I am sad that people have taken advantage of the COVID-19. We can’t build without cement and these prices our people can’t afford and build,” he said. “Quoting the materials in dollars, shows that they want to sabotage the economy and we need the law to follow such. This shows that some companies are not patriotic and do not want to support the government of the day. For us to develop we need infrastructure development. So if we want to build schools, then we can’t.”
Mwakalombe said the prices of cement were unacceptable.
“It has a devastating effect on our people. And these doing this want to sabotage the economy of Zambia. How do you quote in dollars? We can’t afford to have the artificial hike of prices because of some individuals,” said Mwakalombe. “I will engage the companies that are doing this. I will go company by company and they should stop it because it is working against the people and the economy.”