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We’ll begin Cement importation if you don’t reduce your prices, FG Warns manufacturers

The Federal Government says it may be forced to support the importation of cement if the arbitrary hike of the product prices by the manufacturers in Nigeria continues.

The Minister of Housing and Urban Development, Ahmed Dangiwa, read the riot act  on Tuesday during an emergency meeting held with cement and building materials manufacturers in Abuja.

Dangiwa said the key components for cement production such as limestone, clay, silica sand, and gypsum are sourced within the nation’s borders, hence the commodity should not be dollar-rated.

According to him, the price of gas that manufacturers are using as an excuse was irrational because gas is a raw material found within the country.

He added that the mining equipment justification was not tenable because equipment bought by the manufacturers have been used for decades and not purchased every day.

The minister said the border was closed to the importation of cement to help local manufacturers.

However, he noted that if the government decides to open the border for mass importation, prices of cement would crash and local manufacturers would be gravely affected.

The minister, who called on the manufacturers to be more patriotic, said BUA Cement, for instance, has been willing and is still willing as at the last time he spoke with them, to crash the price of their cement, lower than the N7000, N8000 agreed by the manufacturers and he sees no reason why the others should not do same.

“The challenges you speak of, many countries are facing the same challenges and some even worse than that but as patriotic citizens, we have to rally around whenever there is a crisis to change the situation.

“The gas price you spoke of, we know that we produce gas in the country. The only thing you can say is that maybe it is not enough.

“Even if you say about 50 percent of your production cost is spent on gas prices, we still produce gas in Nigeria. It’s just that some of the manufacturers take advantage of the situation. As for the mining equipment that you mentioned, you buy equipment and it takes years and you are still using it,” he said.

Earlier, Group Chief Commercial Officer of Dangote Cement, Rabiu Umar blamed the high cost of gas and mining equipment for the hike in cement price.

He said: “It is safe to say we are all Nigerians and we are all facing the current head weight that is happening. I would like to speak on the popular belief that most of the raw materials to produce cement are available locally.

“While we have limestone and in some cases, we have gypsum and some cases coal, the reality is that it takes a lot of forex-related items to produce cement.”

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