Cement prices go up, contractors to abandon jobs, layoff workers or do shoddy works

Cement prices in most retail outlets in Lusaka have increased from about KR65 to KR75 owing to the increase in the fuel prices.

A check in several outlets in Lusaka has revealed that the cement traders are now selling a pocket of cement for KR75 because of the transportation costs.

This increase now means the cost of construction will now go up as cement is a key component in building.

And some companies with construction contracts with government and other agencies have told the Watchdog that they are going back for amendments of their contracts costs owing to the increase in the construction industry.

They say the increase in the movement of construction materials will also result in shoddy works or even abandoning projects as they are not making any profits.

“For us to make some profits, we have also been forced to lay-off some workers and this will mean project completion will be delayed, abandoned, or result in shoddy works,” said one of the contractors.

Under pressure to raise money for by-elections and maintain a huge cabinet that is not affected by these measures, the PF government recently increase the fuel prices in move that Chishimba Kambwili and other senior PF government officials described will only affect the few people who drive from one pub to the other.

So far bus fares on both local and long distance routes in Zambia have been increased.

The prices of mealie meal is also increasing because of the high production and transportation costs and further increases on commodities is expected as Zesco intends to increase electricity tariffs.

Yesterday, Agriculture Minister Bob Sichinga also announced the removal of maize subsidies, a move that will further increase the cost of mealie meal prices.

University of Zambia students immediately protested at the sharp rise in the cost of living owing to the punitive measures by government that promised to lower people’s livelihood.

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