By Victor Ahiuma-Young
LAGOS—LEADING cement manufacturer, Dangote Cement Plc, weekend, announced drastic reduction of the prices of its cement.
The new price regime announced by the Group Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, GMD/CEO, of Dangote Cement, Mr. Devakumar Edwin, pegged the Dangote 32.5 cement grade at N1,000 per 50 kg bag, while the higher 42.5 grade would sell for N1,150 per bag.
A statement by the company at the end of a management meeting said, however, that the new prices were exclusive of the Value Added Tax, VAT, representing about 40 per cent discount on the prevailing market price of the product currently sold for N1,700 irrespective of the grade, across the country.
Edwin said the move was in line with the company’s commitment to the nation’s dire need for the development of infrastructure and to boost the federal and state government’s ongoing effort to reduce the near 20 million housing deficit in Africa’s largest economy.
He said, “we recognize the need for an increased rapid response to the huge infrastructure and housing deficit in the country, and one of the ways of addressing the issue is bringing the price of building materials down to much more affordable levels especially cement which is within our control as part of our contribution to the transformation agenda of the Goodluck Jonathan administration and the attainment of key milestones in the Millennium Development Goals, MDGs.
“Since the commencement of the implementation of the backward integration policy for cement in the country over 12 years ago, the local production capacity of the product rose from less than three million metric tonnes per annum to about 38 million metric tonnes per annum. During the more than 12-year period of the backward integration policy, nearly $20 billion has been directly and indirectly injected into the Nigerian cement industry with Dangote Cement Plc accounting for 60 per cent of that spend.”
The GMD/CEO added that Dangote Cement Plc would continue to ensure alignment of its corporate social responsibility with its strategic business initiatives and will continue to evaluate its pricing regime in Nigeria’s best interest.
Meanwhile, the timing of the initiative has confounded industry watchers, who say that from experience, the cement market is on the verge of entering the accelerated demand phase as the raining season is tapering and the dry season which provides the opportunity for increased construction and building activities is setting in.