The price of cement, a critical ingredient in the construction industry has been increased by 2.5 percent, Lafarge Cement Malawi managing director, Bruno Hounkpati, confirmed in an e-mail last week.
In a statement, Hounkpati said the new prices were effective 12 April 2013. He attributed the adjustments to rising production costs.
“The price increase is due to the rising cost of production largely driven by increased cost of imported raw materials as a result of continued depreciation of the Malawi kwacha against its major trading foreign currencies that has depreciated by around eight percent from the last time we took another increase,” he said.
Lafarge Cement last adjusted its products prices in February 2013. At the time, the company’s products went up by an average of 22 percent in price.
“The last time Lafarge Cement Malawi adjusted its products prices was on 15 February, 2013 by an average of 22 percent after the 30 percent increase in May, 2012 despite the Malawi kwacha depreciating by well over 120 percent over same period. To continue producing and offering the Malawi market quality cement products, prices for all Lafarge Cement Malawi products will go up by 2.5 percent,” he said.
Rising cement prices also push up construction costs, and a construction expert forecast last year that Malawi being a developing country, cement prices would keep on increasing in the country and that the cost of construction would be very high compared to other African countries.
Lafarge is a leading producer of building materials in Malawi. Established in 1956 as Nyasaland Portland Cement, the company operates a cement grinding mill in Blantyre and employs over 400 people.