TRADERS in most parts of the country have started implementing the government directive that requires them to sell cement at indicative prices.
Last Monday, Prime Minister Kassim Majaliwa warned traders who harbour profiteering motives through the hoarding of ce- ment, saying doing so amounted to economic sabotage and they would be dealt with in accordance with the law.
The Premier said whoever takes advantage of the situation would face the law and that the government would not tolerate the situation.
A survey conducted by the ‘Daily News’ in some regions in the past two days, established that cement dealers have swiftly responded to the PM’s directive and reduced the price accordingly.
In Dar es Salaam, as of yesterday, the 50kg bag of cement was sold between 15,000/- and 14,500/- in different parts of the city. The survey was conducted in Kigamboni, Ubungo and Kinondoni districts.
Before the government intervention, the cement price had shot up to 17,500/- in some parts of Dar es Salaam. In Mwanza Region, the price stood at 18500/- per bag.
The dealers told the ‘Daily News’ that there was enough consignment in their warehouses and that everything was getting back to normal.
They said the supply had increased compared to previous days when there was scarcity of the product, which resulted in soaring cement prices.
Mr Zulfikar Nanji, a wholesaler in Mwanza City, said that he has enough cement in his warehouse so there is no need for retailers to raise prices.
“I am selling the cement at a government indicative price, therefore retailers should not increase the price as we are selling them at a lower price,” he observed.
For his party, Mr Makolo Mayunga who is a Kitangiri resident in Ilemela municipality, told the ‘Daily News’ that he recently bought a 50kg of cement at a cost of 19,000/- Mr Renatus Nsagano, a cement dealer in Geita Region told this paper that he was selling a 50kg bag of cement at 20,000/- each.
According to Mr Nsagano, traders in the region had agreed in the meeting with authorities to sell the cement at such a price.
“This is the price we agreed in our meeting with the Regional Commissioner, Eng Robert Gabriel,” he noted. In Kagera municipality, it was also established that the 50kg bag of cement was sold at 20,000/-.
Moreover, in Shinyanga Region, the price for 50kg of Twiga Plus cement was sold at 21,000/- while Simba cement was sold at 19,000/- per bag.
Traders in the region, however, pleaded with the government to give them a grace period so that they can clear the consignment from their warehouses, as they claimed they purchased the products at higher prices from agents.
One of the traders, Mr Ibrahim Othman said: “We are not opposing the government’s directive but we are afraid of losing business capitals.”
In Itilima District, Simiyu Region, the 50kg bag sold at 19,500/-. In the capital city, Dodoma, the price for a 50kg bag stood at 17,500/- in wholesale stores and 19,000/- for retails.
In Arusha, the ‘Daily News’ survey discovered that a bag of Twiga Cement was retailed at 16,000/- while Simba Cement fetched 15,500/-.
Moreover the price in Moshi Rural, Kilimanjaro Region was 14,500/- per bag while in Tanga, the price ranged between 13,000/- and 13,500 per a 50kg bag.
The Premier had directed the Ministry of Industry and Trade to fast-track indicative prices for cement, to control unscrupulous traders and agents from hiking prices of the product.
The Premier also warned cement traders against hoarding of the product to create artificial shortages. He said any traders found to be hiding cement will be arraigned and face economic sabotage charges.
He issued the directive during a virtual conference with top regional administrators and those of the relevant ministries plus major cement suppliers in the market.
The premier gave the directives to regional commissioners, regional administrative secretaries, regional commercial officers, major cement suppliers, along with permanent secretaries of the Ministry of Industry and Trade, the Ministry of Works and the Ministry of Transport and Communication.
The meeting aimed at exploring the causes and stopping the hiking of cement price and availability of the commodity.
The premier asserted that indicative prices for cement will be essential as people need to know the price of the product in their respective regions and that it remains stable to plan building activities.
“We cannot have cement sold at 28,000/- per 50kg bag in Morogoro Region while it has been produced in Dar es Salaam or Tanga Region. We need to control and set indicative prices to avoid those in peripheral regions purchasing cement at hiked prices,” he stated.