Despite government’s suggestionsCement crisis goes on unchecked [Archives:2005/849/Front Page]

June 9 2005

Yasser Mohammed Al-Mayyasi
SANA'A- June 6- The Yemeni Parliament summoned on Monday officials at the Ministry of Industry and Trade to inquire them about reasons behind the price hike of cement and its disappearance from the local market for about two months.

Skyrocketing prices of cement over the last few weeks hindered works in a number of public and private projects, as the price rose by 100%. This brought to YR 1500 the price of each sack of cement (around US$10) and caused concern among citizens and traders.

Despite the government's declaration to set a number of solutions to the skyrocketing prices of cement, the crisis is still going on.

The government represented by the Ministry of Industry and Trade announced it has taken several procedures to control the crisis.

It confirmed the cement crisis was caused by the rapid growth of construction the country witnesses, and this led to a deficit in meeting all demands of the local market that consumes the local cement production while 60% of cement supply is imported from abroad.

The government tended to justify such a price hike saying the crisis is not only experienced in Yemen but also in other Arab and foreign countries.

Some of the Gulf countries, including Saudi Arabia, halted the export of cement to Yemen because of the rising demand for cement in their local markets, and this flared up the crisis in Yemen.

The government ascertained it conducted negotiations with a number of cement exporters including European countries to fight monopoly of the product and eradicate the crisis.

Large quantities of cement arrived last Monday at Hodeidah Port and the Yemeni Government announced that YR 900 is the new price per sack of cement.

The government stressed that there are some traders who monopolize the product with the aim to raise its price to serve their private interests.

Commercial sources told the Yemen Times that the inflation of cement prices is attributed to the Cement Establishment, the party responsible for controlling production and sale of cement.

Many traders emphasized that cement price jumped suddenly from YR 750 to 1500 per sack.

According to procedures taken by the government, the cement crisis will be out of place within the coming three years.

The government procedures included an expansion of some production lines in a number of cement factories including Amran's and Bajil's.

The coming three years are due to see the production of three private cement factories in Hadramout, Lahj and Abyan. These factories are expected to score a surplus in cement production in the country.

It is noteworthy that Yemen currently has three cement factories in the governorates of Amran, Hodeidah and Taiz which can cover only 40% of the local demand.