Kenyan cement producers seek clarity on CRBC procurement

08 July 2015

Kenyan cement producers say that they are being left out of a $3.8-billion railway project that China Rail & Bridge Corporation is building, after the company gave an assurance it would source all of the material domestically.

Companies including Lafarge SA’s Kenyan unit and ARM Cement Ltd asked Kenya Railways Corporation, the implementing agency, to provide clarity on CRBC’s local procurement plans, five months after work on the project started. Kenya Ports Authority data show CRBC imported at least 7,000 metric tons of cement this year.

Paunrana, who is also chairman of the Kenya Association of Manufacturers, said: “There has not been transparency on how much we will supply, and we don’t understand why they are importing cement when we can clearly supply all cement to their specifications.” The SGR project requires 1 million tons of cement, all to be sourced in Kenya, according to a master list of supplies the association says it was given by CRBC. Kenya is a higher-cost producer of cement than China and imports for the project are duty-free, Paunrana said. 

The cement producers say they’ve spent millions of dollars to upgrade their factories to produce the 52.5 grade of cement required by the contractors. This is the understanding that CRBC would source cement locally.

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