Shayona Cement Corporation donates drugs to KCH
…Cement producer has earmarked K31-M for CSR
…Investor needs protection from cement imports
By Chiku Jere
Malawi’s fastest growing cement manufacturer Shayona Cement Corporation elevated its corporate social responsibility initiatives, which have mainly concentrated on its factory location Kasungu, to national level when it responded to a request from the Eye Department at Kamuzu Central Hospital (KCH) to donate assorted drugs worth close to K1million.
During a function held at KCH premises, Shayona representatives; Operations Manager Prajeesh Padmanabhan, Administrator Spencer M’baka and Public Relations Officer Rowland Mwalweni made a symbolic presentation of the drugs to Chief Hospital Administrator Sipho Nyasulu, who was in the company of Head of Eye Department a Dr. Msosa, Chief Nursing Officer a Mrs. Kabambe and were all thanks for the gesture.
Nyasulu expressed gratitude to Shayona for complementing government’s effort by responding to the department’s request for help as they were in dire need of the drugs especially antibiotics.
Government has several competing priority areas that need financial attention and cannot promptly satisfy the needs of all departments. That is why we thought of seeking a helping-hand from Shayona, and we are really glad that the response was positive and prompt, we do not take this gesture for granted,
Nyasulu used an adage ‘a friend indeed is a friend in need’ to describe Shayona’s gesture and pleaded with the company to be there for the hospital whenever need arises.
He said the donated drugs are essential for the daily operations of the Eye Department and promised to use them for the intended purpose for the benefit of the patients.
He revealed that the eye department, as well as the hospital as a whole, has been running on a serious drug shortage for the past seven months exacerbated due to unavailability of special drugs at Central Medical Stores.
This is the problem in many central hospitals. The money is available but the Central Medical Stores are failing to supply our orders. For instance, our financial year ends in two months in June, but we still have 40 percent of our financial allocation unused,
On his part, Mwalweni said the company responded positively to the request as one way of upholding its compassionate policy which compels it to render a helping hand to Malawians in times of need.
He said despite facing difficulties on the market due to the flooding of cement imports Shayona’s management felt the urge to assist as the ‘building of a health nation’ is one of the company’s aspirations.
When we received this request, we felt that it was in tandem with our policy, which gives great value to health and education. Our Managing Director Jitendra Patel believes that a health and educated nation is the only way to attain prosperity, hence he made these two essential needs as part of our areas of focus as a company in terms of CSR.
Mwalweni explained that the company has this year allocated MK31million for CSR activities mainly planned for Kasungu East, which hosts its cement plant and limestone mines.
Though our CSR activities are focused on Kasungu, we realised that Shayona is a Malawian company which has its customers spread across the country, so we felt that by making this donation to KCH, we will be reaching out to other people who use our products,
In his remarks, Padmanabhan told the hospital officials that the company’s door remains open, ready to render assistance if need arises, but he pleaded with government to address the issue of uncontrolled importation of cement which he said is saturating the market and threatening the survival of the local industry.
We are happy to complement government efforts in health and education but we would like authorities to help us as well by tackling the influx of cement imports, which remains a big threat to the survival of our company as a business,
Shayona produces three product brands namely: Akshar, Buildplast and its new ultimate 42.5R Thanthwe Cement.
Akshar cement brand caters for over 25% of the market share in the country and is meant for low income customers, while Buildplast, which displays a high level of workability and coverage can be used for plastering, block work, brickwork and tilt slab substrates.
Shayona opened its operations in Malawi 20 years ago and it has grown into one of the leading local producers of cement with a rapid rise from a rated production capacity of 100 tons per day with less than 100 employees back in 1997 to a present rated production capacity of 650 tons per day with 1,200 personnel.
The company contributes substantially to the Government’s coffers with an annual remittance of MK2.5billion in both royalties and taxes.
Meanwhile, Shayona is undertaking an expansion project at its factory which will see a monumental rise of production to more than 30,000 pockets of cement per day.
This is not the first time the company has extended its philanthropic footprint outside Kasungu as in 2014 it sponsored an eye operation for an unnamed patient which took place at the same KCH Eye Department.
Shayona also sponsors the running of a clinic at its premises in Kasungu, and its activities include donating drugs and topping up salaries for the health facility’s personnel.
This piece was initially published in Malawi’s Mining & Trade Review Issue Number 49 (May 2017).