Chamber hails Shayona for ‘awesome’ plant investment
…these are the standards to match or surpass – Lungu
By Chiku Jere
The Chamber of Mines and Energy has hailed Shayona Cement Corporation for its continued investment in expansion works at its Kasungu factory despite being exposed to market challenges posed by untamed influx of cement imports.
This shows patriotism and commitment on the part of an investor worth emulating. Shayona is standing out amidst all these challenges, particularly that of unfair dealings on the market. This should be the spirit,
said President for the Chamber Dean Lungu in expressing his admiration for Shayona’s new state of the art cement plant.
Lungu led a delegation from the Chamber on a fact-finding tour of mines across the country which took them to Shayona’s mine and factory located in rural eastern side of the district in the area of Traditional Authority Wimbe, Group Village Headman Mwimila.
He said as Shayona is doing, it should start with indigenous investors to proudly take a leading role in investing in the country and set required high standards for foreign investors to follow.
Difficult situations should not diminish our resolute. Instead, it should embolden our drive towards lobbying and achieving solutions that could turn the mining sector into vibrant bedrock of our economy to drive the prosperity of the nation and its people,
The team was impressed with Shayona factory compound, from safety measures, well-kept and environmental friendly premises grounds to workers’ accommodation set up.
The standard of investment, factory set up and development that Shayona has set should be a mark-up challenge for all of us local investors to meet and surpass. What we have seen here is awesome. And it should encourage, at the same time challenge us with regards to our aspiration to succeed as investors,
Shayona Operations Manager Prajeesh Padmanabhan and factory’s Human Resource & Administration Manager Austin Mvula, both expressed gratitude to the Chamber for the visit saying it afforded the company the opportunity to present challenges they are facing – the major one being current government’s policy that allows influx of cement imports on the local market.
Importation of cement from surrounding countries when local manufacturers can satisfactorily supply the market is killing our business and the sooner authorities address this, the better or else we will wake up one day to discover that the country has lost its cement industry, which will be shameful,
He also said apart from committing to the development of the company through continued capitalisation, Shayona is also fulfilling its corporate social responsibilities by investing in education and health of the nation.
We are doing this because of the passion we have to see this country and its people develop, but we also need help from authorities,
On his part, Mvula said in addition to curbing the importation of cement from surrounding countries, the government needs to support Shayona’s investment by upgrading the 28km Mwimila Turn-off to Shayona factory Road.
Shayona opened its operations in 1997 and the Cement Corporation founder, Jitendra Patel, who also serves as company’s Managing Director said in an earlier interview that it has been a 20year-journey with millions of experiences.
In his reflection, Patel said it was not easy to get into the Malawian market that had already established brands for a product like cement.
I cannot forget, and shall never forget the bad old days when we failed to convince our customers to offload even 10 bags from a 600 bag truck capacity. However, as days passed by, with support from our customers and many Malawians at large, things started picking up till today,
The Mulanje-born, Indian-trained mechanical engineer said it is this experience that has brought confidence to the company to continue investing big in Malawi.
Currently, Shayona is implementing phase II of its expansion project at the factory site which has seen the company installing a German-made state of art MK30billion ($65 million) Rotary Cement Manufacturing Plant.
The plant includes a crusher, a stacker re-claimer, pre-heater column, raw and coal mill among other necessities, that would be centrally controlled in a room fitted with an automated gadget.
The works at the factory are expected to be completed by the end of this year and once that is done, the company plans to invest further by installing cement mills in Blantyre and Mzuzu to ensure uninterrupted supply of cement to the Southern and Northern Regions of this country.
Shayona, which currently has a 1200 workforce, started producing cement with less than 100 workers and a rated production of 100 tonnes per day from 250 kilns, but the production has now, grown to 650 tonnes per day and it is expected to jump to 1500 tonnes per day, translating to 30,000 50kg pockets of cement a day, once phase II is operational.
This piece was initially published in Malawi’s Mining & Trade Review Issue Number 50 (June 2017).