Tuesday, May 17, 2011

President Jonathan directs reduction in price of cement

President Goodluck Jonathan, on Monday, directed the Cement Manufacturers’ Association of Nigeria (CMAN) to bring down the price of cement within 30 days.

The president gave the directive at a meeting he summoned at the State House, Abuja, with the top five cement manufacturers in the country.

Speaking with journalists after the closed-door meeting, which lasted more than three hours, the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Ima Niboro, said Jonathan called the meeting because of the growing concern of government over increase in the price of cement.
“As we all know, cement prices are going through the roof and the administration is very concerned about it and he wants the prices to come down,” he said. “The president has agreed with them that the price of cement should be brought down within the next one month and they have promised to do so.”

The Minister of State for Commerce, Josephine Tapgun, who was at the meeting, said all stakeholders agreed that the price must come down within the shortest possible time. She said Jonathan assured the manufacturers that government was prepared to intervene where necessary in addressing all issues causing the high cost of the commodity.

The Chairman of CMAN, Joseph Makoju, said cement price stabilized from 2008 to 2010 because the local production of the commodity increased. “In those two years, and for the first time in our history,  we were producing so much cement that the suppliers could not sell all that we were producing which had never happened before,’’ he said.

He said the recent scarcity and high cost of the commodity was as a result of increased cost of production and haulage. “In addressing these causes, some of the issues are on our side and some of the issues are on government side and I am very confident that over the next few weeks you will see the impact on the issues of supply and prices of cement,” he said.

Similarly, the Chairman of Dangote Cement, the largest producer of cement in Nigeria, Aliko Dangote, said that the major challenges being faced were in the areas of supply of Low Pour Fuel Oil (LPFO) mainly used by the industry. He said Benue Cement, under his group, lost almost two weeks of production resulting to loss of over 6000 trucks of cement.

Dangote also attributed the shortage and high price to the post-election crisis in some parts of Northern Nigeria, which caused a shutdown of production for weeks, adding that arrangements were being made by his companies to sell cement directly to retailers who were buying as little as one truck as part of moves to bring down prices.

He said marketers also capitalised on the increase in the pump price of diesel to transfer additional costs to the final consumers, adding that his group had ordered for 5, 000 additional trucks to ameliorate the problem of haulage of cement to all parts of the country.

“We are doing all that to try and bring down the cost of transportation but we will do it in such a way that it will not affect other transporters because we also need them in the business to survive,” he said. “Cement will definitely be exported from Nigeria, worst case scenario, by first quota of next year. Nigeria should be earning a lot of foreign exchange and I can guarantee you that cement would be one of the major foreign exchange earners in the next few months to come.”

No comments:

Post a Comment