Congolese Minister of Foreign Trade, Jean-Lucien Bussa, authorized the annual import of 100,000 tonnes of gray cement from Congo-Brazaville to fill the 400,000-tonne shortfall in supply on the market in Grand Équateur, the Grande Province Orientale and Grand Kasaï (western DR Congo). It claims to have limited the import quota to 100,000 tonnes per year compared to the annual needs of the 13 provinces of the Western Block estimated at 400,000 tonnes, or 30,769 tonnes per province per year.
Officially, the decision of the Minister of Foreign Trade will help penetrate the internal market and lower the price of this product as well as prepare the DRC to access the free trade market by balancing with local industry. “It’s time to make the local industry competitive in the face of the free trade challenges that lie ahead. This is equivalent to the freedom to produce and sell for African and world economies ”, the Minister of Foreign Trade.
In January 2021, the DR Congo will integrate the African free trade zone. Thus, the customs barriers of African countries will be relaxed in order to allow them to interchange products, in application of the courageous reforms expected to make local industry more competitive, in particular through an attractive tax and customs policy. The DRC’s foreign trade minister would like to reconcile the links between the protection of local industry and the obligation to enter the African free trade market. A report from the Central Bank of Congo informs that the cement industry produced around 959,088 tonnes in 2019 against a drop in consumption estimated at 390,279 tonnes, or 40.69%, likely to decline further in 2020 because of the crisis following the COVID-19 pandemic.
The gray cement industry being hit hard, the DRC considered, in mid-June, an « urgent » revival of the activities of the National Cement Factory (CINAT), installed at Kongo Central, whose activities have been stopped since. 2011. “Among the companies to be urgently revived, there is the National Cement Factory. I have come to see what is going on. I saw the production capacity of this factory which is 300,000 tons per year. I saw the quarry with an estimated capacity of 18 million tonnes of limestone with a 60-year operating possibility. But, the production tool has been at a standstill since 2011, « explained Julien Paluku. The Minister of Foreign Trade is of the opinion that the « rapid » revival of CINAT could increase the capacity of national cement production and create several jobs for the Congolese. On behalf of the editorial staff.