The Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (CCPC) says it is investigating the sudden increase in cement prices effected on the local market.

In a statement issued to News Diggers!, CCPC public relations officer Rainford Mutabi announced that the Commission was concerned with the collective increase in the price of cement, which it had been monitoring for the past six months.

Last week, Lafarge Zambia Plc announced an increase in cement prices by about 20 per cent, bringing a pocket each to almost K100.

“The CCPC would like to inform the general public that it has been investigating the recent simultaneous increases in the prices of cement in the county, contrary to media reports that it has remained mute, while cement producers hike prices and exploit consumers,” Mutabi stated.

“CCPC advises that it has been actively monitoring the prices of cement over six months. Our cement price surveillance has revealed that a bag of cement is currently trading between K95 to K100 across all brands. The Commission is concerned with the collective and synchronized increase in the price of cement. However, the Commission is alive to the fact that the price of electricity and fuel has increased and will take due consideration of this factor in its investigations.”

He further cautioned stakeholders to present information about any suspicious transactions to the Commission than making ill-informed comments on the matter under investigation.

“The Commission is, however, disappointed with stakeholders that continue to rush to the media to make ill-informed comments on matters under active investigation to a point of jeopardizing such investigations. Cartel investigations are criminal in nature and require painstaking evidence to prove violation of the law beyond reasonable doubt. But when there are comments by stakeholders, it places suspects on high alert, thereby compromising prospects of making meaningful headway. We would like to encourage all stakeholders with information regarding collusion in any sector of the economy to always bring it to the Commission first,” stated Mutabi.