Zambia's National Construction Council (NCC) Executive Director, Sylvester Mashamba, said Friday that the country was facing a monthly shortfall of 13,000 metric tonnes of cement due to increased economic activities taking place nationwide.
As a result, Mashamba added, local cement manufacturing companies were unable to meet the increased demand for cement on the market.
He said the country’s monthly cement requirements are 40,000 metric tonnes but the available supply was only 32,000 metric tonnes, leaving a deficit of 13,000 metric tonnes.
He described the situation as serious because of the repercussions on the national economy which is on an upward swing due to the discovery of new deposits of copper ore and other minerals in the last three years, a development which has led to a sudden surge of economic activity in the country.
Two huge copper mining ventures are currently being opened in the North Western Province of the country, which is one of the least developed provinces in Zambia.
This, however, means there is now an urgent need to bring the infrastructure standards at Kansanshi and Lumwana, the two mining operations in the province, to an acceptable standard.
Investors at the two sites have been constructing houses, roads and other facilities and have also needed electricity and telecommunication facilities made available to them.
This demand, however, has not kept up with the ability of local suppliers of the raw materials such as cement to offer adequate supplies as well as meet the demands from other big customers.
In a bid to meet the demand, Lafarge Zambia, the biggest supplier of cement on the Zambian market, has invested millions of US dollars to try and increase its capacity to meet this growing demand.