By John Lee.
The State Company for Cement Industries says cheap, low-quality imports of cement are making it hard for it to sell its products, reports Azzaman.
The company’s director-general, Nasser Idris, warned that the industry might collapse without immediate state support.
Idris did not say where the cement was imported from, but added that the imports were much cheaper than locally produced cement and of a lower quality.
He blamed the government for the local industry’s lack of competitiveness, saying the authorities have imposed thousands of employees on his company at a time they were not needed; he said most of the government-imposed workers had practically nothing to do, and were employed mainly for political reasons.
Business also suffered from long interruptions due to power shortages, and from increasing fuel prices
Iraq’s cement consumption is estimated at nearly 18 million tons a year, but its 21 cement plants produced only 12 million tons in 2012, although their capacity is estimated at 25 million tons.
Although Iraq plans to become a net exporter of cement, Idris said his company, which runs the plants, will not be able to meet domestic demand or compete with cheap imports.