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BREAKING; House of Reps summon Dangote, BUA, others  over arbitrary increase in Cement prices

 

BREAKING; House of Reps summon Dangote, BUA, others  over arbitrary increase in Cement prices

 

 

The House of Representatives on Wednesday, March 13, resolved to investigate the arbitrary increase in the price of cement by cement manufacturers in the country.


The House resolved to invite cement manufacturers alongside the Ministers of Solid Minerals Development and Trade and Investment to brief the House at plenary on reasons for the increasing cost of cement and efforts being made to force down the price.

This followed a motion on notice sponsored by Gaza Jonathan Gbefwi (SDP, Nasarawa) and Ademorin Kuye (APC, Lagos).

Moving the motion, Gbefwi said manufacturers of cement have increased the price of their products by up to 50%, leading to sharp hikes in building blocks, the cost of building, and consequently, the price of rent across the country

According to him, the raw materials for the manufacture of cement, which include lime, silica, alumina, iron oxide, and gypsum are all sourced locally and not affected by exchange rate volatility.

He said all the factors of production and elements of the cement production flow chart are also sourced locally and have not changed significantly year-on-year.

He alleged that the manufacturers of cement are capitalizing on exchange volatility to arbitrarily increase the price of the product, whose cost of production has not changed significantly since last year.

He accused those he called the cement cabal of unconscionably inflicting hardship on Nigerians as the prices of rent and associated services have increased.

He alleged further that the increase is a direct affront and sabotage of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s administration’s effort to bring comfort to the populace and should be resolved immediately.

Contributing to the motion, Oboku Oforji (PDP, Bayelsa) said the parliament must not close its eyes and watch cement manufacturers inflict pain on the Nigerian people through arbitrary increases in the prices of cement.

Yusuf Adamu Gagdi (APC, Plateau) accused cement manufacturers of practically sabotaging the efforts of the government to provide affordable housing for the Nigerian people.

Gagdi said while the prices of cement were rising above the reach of the average Nigerian, people from neighbouring countries were enjoying the benefit of the products.

Billy Osawaru (APC, Edo) wondered why cement manufacturers should be increasing the prices of cement almost daily and declaring billions of naira as profit. Pricing cement is above the reach of the average Nigerian.

George Ozodinobi (LP, Anambra) calls for mass importation of cement into the country, saying doing so will force down the prices of locally produced cement.

He said when licence was given to Ibeto to import cement by the Yar’adha administration he was frustrated out of the business by cement manufacturers in the country.

Sani Madaki (NNPP, Kano) accused cement manufacturers of sabotage and working against the provisions of the Constitution, saying what the cement manufacturers are doing was corruption.

But Sada Soli (APC, Katsina) cautioned against any drastic action against the manufacturers, saying Nigeria was operating a free market economy while saying that those contributing to the motion were speaking from the socialist point of view.

He said even though he was on the side of the Nigerian people, the point must be made that there is no monopoly in cement production in the country, adding that the cement plants were sold to the highest bidders, describing Nigeria as a net exporter of cement in Africa.

He said Nigerians must understand that the cement manufacturers were paying for the cost of energy as they have to generate their own power using gas which is priced at an international rate, but the lawmakers shouted him down.

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