Reps summon cement manufacturers over high price of commodity

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By Aaron Ossai

Worried by the high cost of cement, the House of Representatives yesterday summoned cement manufacturers in the country to appear before it to explain the rationale behind arbitrary increase in its cost.

The House also mandated its committees on Solid Minerals Development, Commerce, Industry and Special Duties to investigate the arbitrary increase in the price of cement by manufacturers of cement in the country and report back within four weeks.

This followed the adoption of a motion sponsored by Reps Gaza Jonathan Gbefwi and Ademorin Kuye.

Leading debate on the general principles of the motion, Hon. Kuye lamented that manufacturers of cement had increased the price of their products by up to 50 percent, leading to sharp hikes in the prices of building blocks, the cost of building, and consequently, the price of rent in the country.

He observed that the raw materials for the manufacturing of cement, which include lime, silica, alumina, iron oxide, and gypsum, were all sourced locally and not affected by the exchange rate volatility.

According to the lawmaker, all the factors of production and elements of the cement production flow chart were also sourced locally and had not changed significantly year-on-year, wondering the rationale for the arbitrary increase in the cost of cement.

He expressed concerns that the manufacturers of cement were capitalising on the exchange volatility to arbitrarily increase the price of the product, even though cost of production had not changed significantly since last year.

“The cement cabal is unconscionably inflicting hardship on Nigerians as the prices of rent and associated services have increased”, he said.

Speaking further, he said the increase in price of cement is a “direct affront and sabotage of the President Bola Ahmed Tinubu administration’s effort to bring comfort to the populace and should be resolved immediately.”

At the end of debate on the general principles of the motion, majority of members at plenary unanimously adopted its prayers.