By Franklin Draku
Kampala — Hima Cement Limited, a subsidiary of Bamburi Cement Ltd which is a member of the LafargeHolcim group has become the latest victim of the current diplomatic row between Uganda and Rwanda.
After blocking Cement exports from Uganda last month, authorities in Kigali now claim they rejected Hima Cement after failing to meet minimum quality standards.
The New Times of Rwanda quoted the Standards Board (RSB) Director General, Raymond Murenzi on Wednesday saying the Uganda cement imports were subjected to routine standards tests which they failed to meet.
Uganda’s cement imports were reportedly found to have breached packaging control since each unit weighed below 50kg it was meant to be.
“The cement packages were found to weigh between 47 and 48 kilogrammes despite being labeled to weigh 50 kilogrammes, prompting the standards body to turn the cargo back to its country of origin,” the paper quoted RSB boss.
Although Rwanda’s RSB accused Hima Cement of failing standards, the Uganda National Bureau of Standards recognised Hima Cement Limited recently for outstanding contribution in ensuring quality products and services on the Ugandan market.
The UNBS spokesperson Godwin Muhwezi said they will need an official statement from Rwanda and referred this reporter to UNBS executive director, Dr Ben Manyindo. Dr Manyindo and Hima Cement officials however didn’t answer our repeated phone calls.
But in the New Times story, the RSC director said: “The products were tested and failed to meet some quality requirements of cement imports. We have since communicated to the firm.”
The Rwanda’s indictments on Uganda’s exports came after New Vision newspaper reported on Tuesday that the cement imports in three trucks – each loaded with 30 tonnes – had been blocked for unspecified reasons.
The newspaper quoted one of the truck drivers saying that the trucks were blocked after Rwanda Revenue Authority (RRA) confirmed receipt of the taxes for the exports.
When they arrived at Katuna border they were told that the network was off and advised to use Mirama Hills. They reportedly drove to Mirama Hill but again got stuck for five days. The RBS took samples and after waiting for weeks, they were told to offload the cement to the warehouse. Later they were told to load the cement and return to Kampala without any explanation.