Full Report: Cement manufacturers blame ‘forex crisis, bad roads, smuggling for astronomical rise in cost of cement

… as FG secures reduction from N15000 to N8000 per bag

The Federal Government and cement manufacturers have agreed on a N7,000 to N8,000 per 50 kg bag of cement to halt the astronomical rise in the price of the product.

This agreement was part of a deal struck after several hours of meeting held behind closed doors at the Headquarters of the Ministry of Works, between the Federal Government and cement manufacturers, in Abuja, on Monday.

The manufacturers agreed to sell a 50kg bag of cement at a retail price between N7,000 and N8,000, depending on location nationwide,

They however put a caveat that the price drop from the current market price would largely depend on government fulfilling its promised interventions in certain areas of concern to ameliorate critical challenges faced in the industry.

It could be recalled that retail price for cement jumped from N5,000 to N10,000 within one week in the open market, after wholesalers citing increasing cost of transportation and other variables, made adjustments to the price they sell to retailers.

Retailers in turn transferred the additional cost burden to consumers to stay afloat.

This prompted President Bola Tinubu to order the Ministers of Works, David Umahi and his Trade and Investment counterpart, Dr. Doris Uzoka-Anite to meet with cement manufacturers to find a solution to the crisis.

Umahi, had while calling for the meeting expressed the Federal Government’s concern over the development adding that if the situation wasn’t brought under control, it had the potential of hurting the prosperity agenda of the current administration .

After the meeting, Umahi read out a communiqué in which he mentioned concerns raised by the manufacturers.

These concerns include: bad roads, smuggling, high cost of energy, and the Forex crisis. According to the manufacturers, these challenges were the primary reasons behind the price hike.

He also said the manufacturers expressed willingness to reduce the prices going forward.

Manufacturers at the meeting include: Dangote Cement, BUA Cement, Larfarge Africa Plc and the Cement Producers Association of Nigeria.

Representatives of the Federal Government include the Minister of Works and his counterpart in the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment,

While reading the communiqué, Umahi said, “The meeting noted the challenges of the manufacturers such as cost of gas, high import duty on spare parts, bad road network, high foreign exchange and smuggling of cement to neighboring countries.

“The government noted the challenges and reacted. The Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment has assured it will seek some remedies from President Bola Tinubu on cost of gas and import duties while the Federal Ministry of Works will give more attention to fixing of the roads, especially around the locations of the manufacturers.

“On the issue of smuggling cement, the Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment to deepen the already started engagement with the National Security Adviser on how to stop the smuggling.

“The cement manufacturers and the Government noted that the current high price of cement is abnormal in some locations nationwide. Ideally, cement retail prices should not cost more than ₦7,000.00 to ₦8,000.00/ 50kg bag of cement.

“Therefore, the three cement manufacturers: Dangote Cement Plc, BUA Cement Plc and Larfarge Africa Plc have agreed that cement cost will not be more than between ₦7,000.00 and ₦8,000.00/50kg bag depending on the location.”

“Going forward, government advised cement manufacturers to set up a price monitoring mechanism to ensure compliance.”

While manufacturers have accepted to do so, they will sanction any cement distributor or retailer found wanting.

“Government expects the agreed price to drop after securing government’s interventions on the challenges of the manufacturers on gas, import duty, smuggling, and better road network.”

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