BUJUMBURA September 12th (ABP) – The Minister of Trade, Industry and Tourism, Mr. Jean Marie Niyokindi brought together, in the premises of that ministry on Tuesday September 10, 2019, the traders of cement and salt to discuss the speculation about Portland cement locally produced by the Burundi Cement Company (BUCECO) and salt prepared for the table in order to protect consumers and warn the traders of those products that do not respect regulation in that area.

Minister Niyokindi indicated that the various categories of salt sold in Burundi (Neelsalt, Nezo and Seasalf) have a Tanzania Bureau of Standards (TBS) indication to certify that salt meets the required standards of the EAC, that is, the amount of iodine is between 30 and 60 PPM, a salt that is suitably iodated.

He mentioned other brands of salt such as chumvi Mawe, Chumvi Safi, Chumvi Nzuri also sourced from Tanzania in the form of salt crystals and, when they arrive in Burundi, undergo transformations and innovation in new packaging marked “made in Burundi” with a logo of a Tanzanian company called “Umusyano”.

It is that type of salt that is consumed daily by the majority of the Burundians, despite the fact that its iodization rate is, in most cases, lower or much higher than the normal value required (30 PPM-60 PPM), Minister Niyokindi deplored. According to that person in authority, that type of salt is dangerous for human life because it is at the origin of certain diseases such as goiter, overweight and depression. This salt can also be the cause of mental disorders and inhibited cognitive ability, he said.

To the salt traders, Minister Niyokindi said the practice should not continue. Thus, the only salt that can now enter Burundi is the one that meets the standards and has been controlled by the TBS that controls all products for export, he said.

Regarding cement, the Minister of Commerce said that cement prices have increased significantly, from 24 500 BIF per bag to 29 000 BIF, or even 30 000 BIF, which, he says, is abnormal.

He called on those cement traders to pull themselves together so that speculation on cement would be banned. He winked at BUCECO, explaining that despite being an industrialist, the company must also monitor cement prices and see if wholesalers who have contracts with the company comply with the law on the market and that even retailers do not sell cement at exorbitant prices.

BUCECO Director General Verra Izere promised that the company will now closely monitor all distributors authorized in the BUCECO and inform the Ministry of the quantity of cement produced monthly to see if it can satisfy people.

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