Rock Hard cement.

Rock Hard Cement Ltd is warning its customers that measures being implemented by the Ministry of Trade to limit the importation of Portland cement will force an 80 per cent increase in cement prices in the new year.

In a release issued yesterday and a full page ad which appears in today’s newspaper, the company said the Government has implemented crippling restrictions that have adversely affected their industry. The company said these measures will delay the company’s planned resumption of business on January 4.

“Consequently, the shipments have been delayed and this has had negative consequences on our operations,” the release stated.

One of the measures being implemented was the Trade Ordinance No 19 of 1958 which states that Portland cement, among various other similar types of hydraulic cement are now on this country’s negative list. The other two, the company said, were legal notices 415 and 416 of the Customs Act which state all tariffs are suspended and there was a 50 per cent increase in duties on Portland cement and other types of hydraulic cement.

Rock Hard said these more stringent measures follow a 35 per cent increase in duties imposed in 2020.

“Duties on cement have effectively moved from 0-5 per cent and 2021 will see a price increase of 80 per cent,” the company said.

A bag of cement currently costs between $45 and $50. If the lower cost is used, the price of a bag of cement currently costing $45 will increase to $81.

But, the company said a restriction on the quantity of imported cement can push the price even higher.

“In addition to these new measures, there is a proposed restriction on cement coming into our country. Just 75,000 tonnes of imported cement will be allowed for the year. This represents a very small portion of T&T’s annual supply.”

Rock Hard is warning T&T that if this restriction is imposed, there will be a major cement shortage, a devastating impact on prices and “the added threat of a monopoly in the supply of cement.”

The company said they remain committed to providing the country with high-quality cement at an affordable price.

Rock Hard is hoping to be able to reopen on February 1.