Harare (New Ziana) – President Emmerson Mnangagwa on Thursday commended cement manufacturer, Khayah Cement Zimbabwe for playing a huge role in government’s ongoing infrastructure development projects by supplying raw materials.
Officially opening a new mill plant under Phase 2 of Khayah’s expansion project, President Mnangagwa said the company’s expected increased cement production, will go a long way in supporting government’s ongoing infrastructure development projects such dams and roads.
“In the area of infrastructural development, the Second Republic is rolling out programmes and projects to upgrade and modernise the country’s infrastructure, I commend Khayah Cement for playing a critical part, including supplying cement to the ongoing boom of construction programmes such as road rehabilitation, dam construction, energy infrastructure development and housing projects, being undertaken by both the public and private sectors,” he said.
Currently, the government is constructing Kunzvi and Gwayi-Shangaani dams, Mbudzi road and bridge interchange, and Beitbridge-Harare highway expansion, among other projects which require massive amounts of cement.
Phase 1 of the company’s expansion project involved installation of a Dry Mortar Mix and Agricultural Lime Plant Project, which President Mnangagwa commissioned in April 2021.
He said the show of confidence by Khayah Cement in the country’s economy is welcome.
“Since 2021, this company has demonstrated renewed determination to be one of the leaders in complementing the ongoing infrastructural development projects,” he said.
“I commend the consortium for injecting about US$14 million to operationalise the plant. Your commitment to ensure sustainable exploitation, beneficiation, and value addition of the limestone rock is in sync with my Government’s exhortations. This is augmented by the adoption of new technologies for increasing production efficiencies, with the potential to raise the company’s cement production capacity from 350 000 to 1 million tons per annum, against an average national demand of 1.4 million tons,” he said.
It is expected that the new plant will result in low production costs, while making cement and other related products affordable to consumers.
“I, therefore, challenge Khayah Cement Limited to broaden the production strategies to meet the marketing and sales mix for a broader footprint on the local, regional and international markets. As a company involved in cement and limestone production and related products, you are a strategic cog in the ultimate realisation of Vision 2030. Your cross-cutting nature and importance in the overall growth and modernisation of our country should not be taken lightly,” President Mnangagwa said.
He urged Khaya to grow its market share by exporting cement.
“The enlarged market within our region and under the African Continental Free Trade Area must be fully explored. The broader market allows free movement of goods, services and investments as well as cross-border trade and financial integration across our beloved mother continent, Africa,” he said.
President Mnangagwa challenged Khaya Cement to make its products more available, at competitive prices in rural areas.
“The successes we have scored in the agriculture and small-scale mining sectors, among others, must translate to an improved quality of housing and business infrastructure in our communal, farming and mining areas.
“On its part, my administration will stay the course towards ensuring robust implementation of the National Development Strategy. This is premised on accelerating structural transformation of our economy, anchored by harnessing our abundant God given natural resource endowments. The development of agro and mineral- based value chains, private sector led growth, infrastructural development, realisation of food security and sovereignty, as well as engagement (and) re-engagement, among others, will be pursued with a greater sense of urgency,” he said.
Khaya board chair, Kumbirai Katsande said the new plant had the capacity to produce higher grade cement such as the one being imported from neighbouring Zambia, which in turn saves the country $300 million being spent on imports.
“We reaffirm our commitment to the government and the economy through supporting infrastructure development projects and productivity in agriculture,” he said.
Khaya Cement, formerly Lafarge, is now owned by indigenous Zimbabweans who are the majority shareholders.