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FG, manufacturers peg Cement price at N8,000

Cement manufacturers have agreed to ensure that prices of 50kg bags of cement does not exceed N8000 across the nation.

It said that prices could be N7,000 in some parts of the country owing to closeness to the supply of the product

This was part of the agreement between the federal government and the cement manufacturers as well as its association.

Minister of Works,David Umahi, led the meeting which had the minister of industry, trade and investment, Doris Uzoka-Anite present, saying they would intervene on issues of gas and bad roads among other issues affecting the rising price of the critical material in the construction sector.

After the meeting between the Ministers and the Cement Manufacturers including Dangote cement pls, BUA cement PLC and Larfarge Cement PLc and other stakeholders, the Minister of Works, David Umahi, read out the communique.

The minister said certain issues including smuggling, bad roads, high energy costs, and the forex crisis caused the high price but stressed that manufacturers had expressed their readiness to bring down the prices in the future.

According to Umahi: “The cement manufacturers have noted to the government that the present high cost of cement in the market is very much abnormal in some locations nationwide. Ideally, they noted that cement price, and retail price to a consumer should not cost more than between N7,000 to N8,000 per 50 kg bag of cement.

“Therefore, the government and the cement manufacturers, which are Dangote Plc, BUA Plc, and Lafarge Plc have agreed to have their cement price nationwide between N7,000 to N8,000 naira per 50 kg pack of cement, depending on the locations, which means that this price depends on the locations.  Going forward, the government has advised manufacturers to set up a price monitoring mechanism to ensure compliance with the prices that are set today.”

Also speaking, the Minister of Industry, Trade, and Investment, Doris Uzoka-Anite, who collaborated with Umahi on price fixing for cement production, lamented the high rate of smuggling to the neighbouring countries.

This, she noted, was responsible for the scarcity and hike in the price of the produce and assured that the National Security Adviser, Mallam Nuhu Ribadu is committed to tackling the menace.

Uzoka-Anite said: “The amount we recommended is N7000 to N8000 but we have other factors. This is the first time that manufacturers are saying they will go and manage compliance in this distribution network.

“We have issues of smuggling not just for cement, but even food across the borders and this has led to scarcity. We have engaged with the NSA who has committed to tackling this. We’ll hear from the NSA soon on this’’.

However, the manufacturers present at the meeting expressed their readiness to bring down the prices in the future as soon as the federal government interventions are fulfilled.

Speaking, the Executive Director, BUA Group, Kabir Rabiu, admitted that the high cost of cement in neighboring countries made smuggling lucrative, saying that the cost of cement in Chad and Cameron is about N15,000 equivalent.

Rabiu assured that his company would bring in 6m tonnes of cement into the market to crash the price.

He said: “The high cost of cement in neighboring countries is making smuggling lucrative.

“The cost of cement in Chad and Cameron is about N15,000 equivalent there, and distributors in the North East instead smuggle products there.

“They do that not through official channels and the government is not benefiting from their export. Unless that is sorted, we’ll continue to have pressure from those markets.

“We have promised the minister that we are going to bring in 6m tonnes of cement into the market and that is going to crash the price. There is a big disparity between demand and supply in Nigeria. I think some plants have issues that have reduced production.

“We are at the peak of cement demand but supply seems less so there is going to be a crisis and that is why we are working hard to bring more products to the market to reduce the pressure of demand and supply in the market’’.

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