In Kenya, local cement manufacturers Bamburi Cement and ARM have accused Chinese contractor China Road and Bridge Corporation (CRBC) of importing cement for the Standard Gauge Railway Project, contravening an earlier agreement to buy local. The local manufacturers have the capacity to supply the product and signed a purchase agreement with CRBC in December last year.
Bamburi Cement and ARM have asked Kenya Railways Corp. to clarify procurement plans, saying there has been no transparency on how much cement they will supply. Port statistics show that CRBC has imported at least 7000 t of cement this year. The project reportedly requires 1 million t of cement in all and is said to be halfway complete. Local press reports that Kenya Railways denies importing cement.
The Kenya Cement Manufacturers Association was reportedly told that all the cement for the project was set to be purchased from local suppliers, which in some cases upgraded their facilities in order to supply the required 52.5-grade cement. However, Chinese cement is cheaper than Kenyan cement and there are no duties on imports for this project.
Head of the cement association and ARM Managing Director Pradeep Paunrana said that the use of domestically acquired materials for the first phase of the project stood at about 18%, far below the government target of 40%. More imports are expected in the second phase. There is some concern that forecasts for growth in the Kenyan economy included the positive impact of sourcing goods locally for this project, which may turn out to be less significant than expected, given the greater degree of imports.
Edited from various sources by Katherine Guenioui
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