By A Correspondent| Children of Zimbabwe War Veterans Association (COZWVA) have accused controversial businessman Kudakwashe Tagwirei of orchestrating an artificial cement shortage, resulting in a staggering 90% increase in commodity prices in the country.
In a recent Twitter post, COZWVA revealed the findings of their investigation, which implicated Tagwirei in a scheme to manipulate the cement market.
The report suggests that Khaya Cement Zimbabwe a company linked to Tagwirei colluded with specific individuals to curb the importation of affordable cement from Zambia. This action intentionally generated a shortage, subsequently driving up the prices of his product.
“Ref Cement exorbitant prices:- An investigation by COZWVA has revealed that, Tagwirei took over Lafarge (Khaya Cement Zimbabwe) & pushed gvt to ban cheap cement imports licensing from Zambia creating an artificial shortage. This is the same Cartel Boss for Fuel, Banks & Gold cartel. He has destroyed Zim,” reads the tweet.
Previously, a 50-kilogram bag of cement was available in the price range of US$9 to US$13. However, the construction material’s cost has skyrocketed, now ranging from US$16 to US$20.
Zimbabwe’s annual cement production averages around 2.6 million tonnes. According to records, Pretoria Portland Cement (PPC) and Khaya Cement Zimbabwe control more than 70% of the domestic market.
In response to the crisis, government has allowed those with free funds to import cement as a way of curbing shortages.
The Zimbabwe Revenue Authority has warned that those caught importing cement without valid permits may face fines of up to US$2,000.