Trinidad-based cement importer Rock Hard Cement is expected to close its operations until Feb. 1, citing recent measures implemented by the Ministry of Trade and Industry as the reason.
“We will be unable to open to supply cement on January 4 as previously planned. The government has sought to implement crippling restrictions that have adversely affected our company,” Rock Hard Cement said in a newspaper advertisement on Jan. 1.
A quota, import licensing regime and registration system for grey and other hydraulic cements went into effect on Jan. 1. The system is to last for a three-year period and implement a maximum quota of 75,000 tonnes of imported cement annually.
Rock Hard Cement warned in the advertisement that cement prices would increase in excess of 80% since duties on cement had effectively moved from 0% to 5%. “Unfortunately, our country can expect a devastating impact on prices, a major shortage of this commodity and the added threat of a monopoly in the supply of cement,” it read.
The company has applied for an injunction hearing to overturn the ministry’s new policy.