The government has availed 85 million dollars in foreign currencies for cement manufacturers, which have been challenged by the forex crunch, to import spare parts. Melaku Alebel, minister of Trade & Industry, announced this last Tuesday, August 25, 2020. The Minister stated the intervention is expected to boost the production capacity of the 12 cement factories, which are performing at an average of 63pc of their total capacity. The current capacity of the companies is expected to increase to 85pc in the coming three months, according to Melaku, who added that in the meantime the Ministry will allow the importation of cement to match the current need. Currently, cement demand in the country stands at 11.5 million tonnes a year, while the actual production is a little over eight million tonnes. The Ministry, in a series of moves, also removed the price ceiling it had placed on retailers in addition to allowing wholesalers or agents, grade-one contractors and megaprojects to engage with the distribution of cement again.
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