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Ministry of Trade deplores increase in price of cement

At a press conference held this September 10th, the Minister of Trade, Industry and Tourism has denounced a considerable increase in price of cement made by Burundi Cement Company-BUCECO since the past few days.

Jean Marie Niyokindi, Burundi Minister of Trade has said a cement bag which should be sold at BIF 24,500 is currently sold at BIF 30,000.
He says this increase in price is not understandable since BUCECO has not yet raised the prices.

“The company should make sure the prices it fixed are respected at the market and control both wholesalers and retailers of its product,” says Mr. Niyokindi.

Jean Marie Niyokindi: “BUCECO cement has significantly increased in price since the past few days”

The Minister of Trade also calls on cement traders and consumers to report whenever there is escalation of cement prices.

“Enough is enough. Whoever will be found responsible for the increase in price of the cement will be seriously punished,” he adds.

“The problem is not caused by small traders. We get it from wholesalers at higher prices,” says Clément Uwiteka, a trader from Bujumbura province whose cement store was closed by the ministry because he increased the price of cement.

Euphraim Nimpagaritse, a cement wholesaler in Bujumbura city says the problem is that there is only one cement company in Burundi. “It cannot satisfy all the people who need cement,” he adds.

He says traders can hardly import cement from overseas to fill the gap left by the local company due to the lack of foreign currencies in Burundi.

Other cement traders say they spend much money on the transportation of the cement from the distributors’ stores, the reason why they increase prices.

“We also pay taxes. We have to get back the means we spent,” says a trader.

Verra Izere, BUCECO Managing Director Assistant says consumers and retailers should communicate to the company whenever there is an increase in price.

“The cement quantity is enough,” she says adding that the company can satisfy the demand of its clients in the country.
Mrs. Izere says BUCECO cement 32.5 is priced at BIF24, 500 and 42.5 at BIF 30,000.

Recently, the shortage of cement has been reported in Bujumbura cityhas been reported in Bujumbura city. It was said traders hid the cement as they were selling it at higher prices.