By Michael Kaluba
Kitwe District Chamber of Commerce, Trade and Industry Vice President in charge of Commerce, Emmanuel Mbambiko has accused Local Cement Producers of forming a cartel which has resulted in almost a 100 percent hike in the price of the commodity within the last 6 months.
And Mr. Mbambiko is concerned that despite these developments, the competition and consumer protection Commission has remained mute while cement producers hike prices and exploit customers from just a little over K50 per 50kg bag of cement to just under K100 per 50kg bag of cement.
Mr. Mbambiko has warned that this Situation will affect several aspects of the economy especially local contractors who he said may be forced to downsize on labor if the bill of quantities are not renegotiated to adjust to the current cement prices.
In an interview with Phoenix Business News, he argues that the hike in cement prices has the potential to render a lot of road projects unsustainable and unattainable while emphasizing that the already inflated road projects now have justification to escalate project costs even further.
Last Week, Lafarge Zambia plc announced a 20 percent hike in cement prices to K94 and K98 for Mphamvu and Supaset respectively while a random check by Phoenix news around retail stores in Ndola revealed that all brands of the commodity had followed suit in hiking prices.
The company attributed the hike in prices to increased electricity and fuel costs.
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