The National, Wednesday 23rd November 2011
By GABRIEL LAHOC
CEMENT supply for the domestic market has stopped and stock in major distributors and retailers is running out fast because of a halt in production.
The sole cement producer PNG Taiheiyo Cement is in a third week of standoff with its workers.
The halt in production has severely affected business especially in the construction industry.
Some companies are now expected to get their supply from hardware retailers in other provincial towns.
Some are contemplating importing cement.
A managing director from a renowned construction company in Lae, Morobe, a his disappointment and urged the national government to remove the 15% tax imposed on imported cement.
He said the protection on PNGTC was not fair because its cement product in some ways was partly being imported because of materials bought from Japan.
Apart from Plumbtrade, all hardware suppliers said their stock was being affected.
Mainland Plumbing and Hardware Supplies, the major distributor for PNGTC covering the highlands and the Momase regions, has no stock on the shelves and in the warehouse.
BNBM PNG said it was also running out of stock.
They said most of their big customers had made deals to purchase only from them and were now affected as they could not buy from other suppliers in and outside of Lae.
“Our customers are complaining but we can only point the finger at PNG Taiheiyo Cement as the producer,” one staff said.
In the New Guinea islands region, Agmark Pacific in Kokopo, confirmed that its stock was dwindling fast with staff predicting that they would be hit hard by next week.
Boinamo Enterprise managing director Mario Cobuccio, said the company was forced to withdraw its workers from various sites two weeks ago because of the shortage.