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Minister Gwengwe attributes cement scarcity to forex shortage

Minister of Finance and Economic Planning, Sosten Gwengwe, has disclosed that the shortage of foreign currency is the major factor contributing to the scarcity of cement in Malawi.

Gwengwe was responding to a question from Rumphi West Member Yona Adadawiza Mkandawire on Friday in Parliament who suggested that the government should encourage cement imports to deal with the situation. 

The minister told Members of Parliament that forex shortage has affected both local cement and general product producers, which shall be rectified very soon. 

Gwengwe, who stood for Minister of Trade and Industry Simplex Chithyola Banda, said the ministry has engaged the Reserve Bank to support local manufacturers.

Gwengwe: The Cement prices have been affected by the shortage of Forex

The finance minister explained that the central bank has engaged in order not to deal with only cement but also other equally local important products that needs forex it’s an import base.

“It is these local producers who are generating forex, therefore they need to be supported to make sure stable supply markets and prices,” elaborated Gwengwe. 

He added, “It is true that prices of cement escalated as other traders are selling as higher as K20, 000 per 50kg bag. During the meeting between concerned stakeholders was resolved that a bag of cement should not exceed K16, 000.” 

He explained that the querry is made considering poor Malawians who earn less than K50, 000 per month and can’t afford to buy a bag of cement during this time. 

Mkandawire pointed out the need to utilize the duty free week in this time of crisis as manufacturers in Malawi are failing to bring down cement prices. 

“There is need to encourage cross-boarder import of cement where government can also be collecting revenues,” pleaded Mkandawire.

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