Rwanda: Construction of More Classrooms Triggers Shortage of Cement

The ongoing scarcity of locally manufactured cement is mainly driven by CIMERWA's current quest to satisfy a supply tender from the Ministry of Education, The New Times has learnt.

It has been about a month since locally manufactured cement from CIMERWA has gone scarce on the market.

Fro instance, a number of hard-wares in Kigali do not have the cement in stock currently, and the reason is that they have not had a good supply from the company lately.

In an interview with The New Times, officials from CIMERWA related the scarcity to the increase in demand, mainly due to the company's current responsibility to supply cement to the Ministry of Education which is embarking on a project to construct more than 20,000 classrooms by September this year,

"This important project is being carried out by the Government through MINEDUC. We are privileged to have been contracted to supply cement for this national project with accelerated delivery timelines," a statement from CIMERWA reads.

In early June, the Ministry of Education started implementing a plan that will see 22,505 classrooms completed in all 30 districts of the country by September to curb overcrowding and long distances travelled by students going to and returning from schools.

Meanwhile, CIMERWA also noted that the overall cement volumes in the market were adversely impacted by reduced cement inflows into Rwanda from Tanzania and other countries on account of COVID-19 related border issues and other challenges, something that also increases to the scarcity.

The officials at the company highlighted that their production has remained "robust" in spite of the Covid-19 challenges,

"As a matter of fact, we had our best volume dispatch in our history during the month of May 2020. A similar production trend of about 90% utilization of our design capacity was witnessed in June and the current month of July," read the statement.

"With the above robust production, we have been able to step in ably to support the Country during this difficult period when supply chains have been disrupted by ensuring that critical projects progressed," it added.

However, the officials at CIMERWA also pointed at challenges posed by the Covid-19 pandemic towards the supply of cement on the market, since the inflow of these products has been challenged by the preventive measures put in place at the borders

CIMERWA said they are working hard to sustain their production, and are also engaging the relevant stakeholders to explore ways to diffuse the demand-supply deficit in the marketplace,

"This includes finding ways to ease the raw material and finished goods supply chains," it read.

People acquainted with cement supply that The New Times spoke to testified of the scarcity.

One of these, a man employed in the hard-ware sector told this newspaper that the scarcity has been going on for some weeks now,

"It is hard to get CIMERWA cement these days," he said.

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