East African Cement Producers’ Association denies existence of cartel in Tanzania

Tanzania: Pascal Lesoinne, the chairman of the East African Cement Producers' Association (EACPA), has denied that a cartel exists in the Tanzanian cement market. His comments arose at a press conference in Dar es Salaam following action by the Tanzanian government to investigate cement imports from Pakistan.

"Repeated accusations of there being a cartel are nonsense as competition is fierce in the market and there are many players. Cement is a hot cake of which everybody wants to have a share," said Lesoinne in a presentation on the benefits of the cement industry to Tanzania's economy. Leading cement producers in Tanzania include HeidelbergCement, Afrisam and Lafarge. Lesoinne cited taxation and jobs as two principal benefits of Tanzania's local cement industry.

Confederation of Tanzania Industry (CTI) figures indicate that in 2012 over 200,000t of cement were imported from Pakistan to Tanzania. Industry players say it is difficult for local manufacturers to compete with imports, largely due to high costs of production in the country, with electricity costs in Tanzania being four times higher than in China and Egypt, according to EACPA figures. Lesoinne called for the government to create a 'level playing field' between locally produced and imported cement.

In late July 2013 the Tanzania government formed a seven person team to investigate alleged subsidies, tax evasion and the quality of cement imported from Pakistan.