By Franklin Alli
The Nigerian Association of Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (NACCIMA), said it endorsed short-term or temporary importation of bagged cement, stressing the policy would help to bring the price down, create availability and regular supplies at fair prices to consumers.
This was the reaction of the organisation to the lingering face-off between cement manufacturers and importers on whether or not government should rescind the import policy of bagged cement and revoke the licenses of beneficiaries.
However, NACCIMA President, Dr. Simon Chukwuemeka Okolo, said the association believes government had better see importation as a temporary measure to shore up adequate supply and to crash the high price of the item in the market.
â€œImportation will help bring down the price of cement and make it affordable to the average Nigerian, and government should also consider opening up importation of burnt bricks for people to use in building their homes, as this might help to bring down the price of cement and save Nigerians from further hardships,â€ he stated.
â€œLocal cement supply does not in any way meet the demand, resulting in high cost of cement in the country and this has hampered lots of Nigerians who wish to build and own homes from doing so. Also scores of businessmen who wish to erect new structures to either start or expand their business, experience severe difficulty in achieving this due to high cost of cement and other building materialsâ€, Okolo observed.
Naccima, he stated, enjoins the Federal Government to remove all bottlenecks that might scuttle the on going efforts to fill the cement demand needs of the country which far exceeds the present supply.
Okolo, further urged relevant government agencies at the ports to be vigilant and thoroughly inspect the imported brands of cement to make sure substandard ones are not dumped on the country, and that government should also intensify effort towards addressing the issues that resulted to high cost of production for cement manufacturer which have forced lost of them out of business and sky rocked the price of cement, namely, inconsistent policies, electric power problem , etc.
Meanwhile, the companies that got the import permit are those that have been in business for more than ten years in the field of cement bagging, packaging, exploring and producing.