JIS News

Information and Development Minister, Senator Colin Campbell has disclosed that 20,000 tonnes of cement, is expected to arrive in the island from Cuba by this weekend.
Senator Campbell, who was addressing journalists yesterday (April 24) at the weekly post-Cabinet press briefing at Jamaica House, explained that the pending shipment from Cuba represented the first of three tranches, which is being imported from that island. A total of 65,000 tonnes of cement is to be imported into Jamaica from Cuba.
The local construction sector has been faced with a shortfall in the supply of cement for the past few months and the problem became worse after reports were made of faulty cement from Caribbean Cement Company, which forced the company to stall production and carry out investigations into the matter.
Minister Campbell said the importation from Cuba should ease the pressure on Carib Cement, which presently, was only producing 3,000 tonnes of cement per day.
He told journalists that in addition to the 20,000 tonnes from Cuba, the Cement Company had also brought in a shipment from elsewhere in the region.
“We expect now that this additional 20,000 tonnes from Cuba will go into the market sometime next week and then hopefully, the private sector imports will chip in sometime after that,” he informed.
A number of private sector interests have opted to import cement to proceed with their construction projects, and to facilitate them, Minister Campbell said “the government took off the safeguard duty [on cement] and the CET (Common External Tariff) remains in place, which is 15 per cent.”
He revealed that to date, two private sector companies had made arrangements to import cement into the island. The Minister pointed out that cement shortage still existed in the retail market and he projected that instability could last another three to six months.
“The government to government arrangements should be done over the next three months. The private sector companies expect to bring in their shipments in quantities of about 25,000 tonnes per shipment and I think we have approved somewhere in the region of 150,000 tones so it will be a few months before all that import comes into Jamaica and reaches the retail trade,” he said.