Senate probes cement, other building materials’ prices increase

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By Olugbenga Salami

Senate on Wednesday resolved to probe the increase in the prices of cement and other building materials in the country just as it urged the federal government to allow the importation of the commodity as a stop gap measure.

Consequently, the Red Chamber directed its Committee on Industries, chaired by Senator Francis Fadahunsi (APC Osun East) to conduct an investigation into the activities of cement manufacturing industries operating within the country in order to ascertain whether market manipulation or monopolistic practice are the reasons behind the price hike.

It also mandated the committee to ensure that cement manufacturing companies adhere strictly to fair market practice and desist from anti competitive prices.

These resolutions followed a motion, titled: “Need to urgently address the increase in cement prices and other building materials in Nigeria”, sponsored by the Senate Deputy Leader, Senator Oyelola Ashiru (APC Kwara South) during plenary.

Senator Ashiru, who came under Order 42 on Personal Explanation, said that the construction industry was vital for infrastructure development and economic growth heavily relies on cement and other building materials for its sustenance.

He expressed worry that the recent trend of an almost daily increase in the price of the product has severely hampered progress in various developmental endeavours across the country.

The lawmaker said because key building materials particularly cement and iron rod prices are now sold at prohibitive rates with cement and iron rod recently rising from 5,500 per bag in January 2024 to about 14,000 and 8,500 to 17,000 respectively.

He expressed worry that the sudden and stiff price increase is having a detrimental impact on critical infrastructure, housing and our own constituency projects across the country.

Senator Ashiru, who noted that raw materials for cement are sourced 100 per cent locally not imported making this sudden surge in prices suspicious and perplexing.

He said: “Cognizant that affordable cement and other buildings are indispensable to national development, addressing the issue in time will be advantageous to the construction industry because it will ensure the progress of constituency projects and strengthen national security by providing jobs and stability and improve the livelihood of Nigerians generally.”