Despite increased production of cement, some of which was meant for the troubled South Sudan market, industry players say they forecast increase in the prices of the key building material. Manufacturers claim that the lower the prices of a commodity like cement, the more the consumers hold back on consumption. For that, they say they will not mind if the retail prices for a 50kg bag of cement stabilise at Shs30,000, currently trading at between Shs26,500, 000 to Shs28,000 or slightly more.
A 50kg bag of cement was retailing at between Shs30,000 – Shs33,000 in several stores around the country, before dropping by a difference of about Shs6,000 late last year.
Cement is a major ingredientmaterial in the construction sector and according to consumer activists, its prices should always be affordable, implying that it should be within range that most consumers can afford to procure as and when they need it.
“Pricing in the market is a function of supply and demand,” Hima Cement commercial manager Patrick Mugenyi said in an interview earlier in the week.
He continued: “Over the last year, cement prices have been on a decline due to market forces. Currently there is price stability and potentially the price could go up to the early 2013 levels.”
In a media breakfast in Kampala last week, the new Hima Cement general manager, Mr Daniel Pettersson, said: “It is in our interests to have stable price for cement. And while doing that, we always have our consumers in mind.” Currently the factory price for a bag of cement is Shs25,500.
There are two major cement manufacturers – Tororo Cement and Hima Cement. And both are producing at a capacity of over one million metric tonnes per annum.
SOURCE: Daily Monitor