Cement prices to hit N9000, says Manufacturers

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The Cement Producers Association of Nigeria has warned that the plan of the federal government to introduce concrete roads will increase the price of cement to N9, 000.

The association raised the alarm in a statement jointly signed by the National Chairman, Prince David Iweta, and National Secretary, Chief Reagan Ufomba, on Sunday.

The price of cement per bag currently stands at N5, 000.

The association also called on the current administration to permanently address the perennial cement price hike problem by facilitating greater participation in the cement industry, noting that Nigerians have no business buying cement for more than N5,600 per bag.

Ufomba commended the Works Minister’s position on cement-made roads but warned of dire consequences if the supply end is not addressed properly.

The cement producers urged the government to lay more emphasis on road design that allows both cement technology and asphalt pavement to run concurrently and provides ample time for a smooth transition that allows contractors to invest in commensurate and requisite equipment and retooling.

The statement reads, “Our findings from various parts of the country show that cement sells for as much as N6,000 per bag in the rainy season. Our prediction is that it will sell for over N9,000 per bag in the dry season, especially with the pronouncement of the Honourable Minister of Works on cement technology and the marching order on housing by Mr. President if the government does not take proactive steps.

“While we commend the Honourable Minister’s position on cement-made roads, we warn of the dire consequences if the supply end is not properly addressed. In fact, it would amount to dereliction of duty not to intervene.

“And the time is now. To do otherwise is to continue in a worsening pipe dream that prices will suddenly drop on this essential input that will continue to drain the purse of Nigerians, render them homeless, encourage chaos between demand and supply, worsen the infrastructure deficit it sets out to cure, and lead to an unprecedented price hike.

“We also call on the Honourable Minister of Works to lay more emphasis on the design criteria of roads that allow both cement technology and asphalt pavement to run concurrently, which, in turn, will provide ample time for a smooth transition that allows contractors to invest in commensurate and requisite equipment and retooling.

“We must also, as a nation, regulate static and dynamic load traffic by introducing weighbridges at access points on our highways. Working in sync with contractors and allied ministries of trade and investment, transport, environment, and finance on a realistic policy on cement is most desirable at this critical time.”

The association further requested that the government conclude the backward integration policy of the late Yar’adua administration that was already affecting the availability and affordability of cement in the country.

It added, “There has been so much comment on cement and cement pricing of late. What our nation needs is cement that is available and affordable. And this cannot be achieved by mere wishes or faulty policies and programs without breaking the chain of monopoly and favoritism. Nigerians are tired of waiting for a downturn in the price of cement and for decent and affordable housing.

“We call on the Tinubu government to permanently solve this perennial cement price hike problem by expanding participation in the sector with companies that have verifiable evidence of local investment, including greenfield licenses and quarrying. As a matter of fact, we call on the government to more specifically conclude the backward integration policy of the late Yar’adua administration, which was already bearing availability and affordability fruit.

“As patriots, it is our view that the government reintroduces backward integration policies and the conclusion of old ones. Consequently, the government cannot be seen to approbate and reprobate by deregulating issues of petroleum products and foreign exchange on the one hand and regulating the pricing of cement, essential goods, and services on the other. There is a need for policy harmonization and convergence between fiscal and monetary policies.

“Finally, we call on the government to urgently intervene in the foreign exchange market, intervene in restructuring bad loans of manufacturers, and review palliative modules. The cry for elusive FDI will be drastically reduced if all manufacturing concerns are revived. The government must be decisive in the kind of economic policies it intends to foist on the people,” the statement added.

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