By Victoria Ojeme
The Federal Government says last year’s #ENDSARS protests and the COVID-19 pandemic which disrupted production flows led to skyrocketing cement price in Nigeria.
The Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment, Nasir Sani-Gwarzo said this at an event in Abuja yesterday adding that the development affected the volume of stock levels in the supply chain due to reduction of cash flow of major distributors and high cost of transportation.
Market surveys show that prices of cement and associated products, such as blocks, in many states, including Abuja, have continued to rise.
For instance, the price of a 50-kilogramme bag now goes for N3, 700 in Lagos and Cross River states; N4,000 in Enugu and Imo states; Rivers state N4,300; Abuja N3,700; Kano and Oyo states N3,500.
Until the last quarter of the year, cement was sold for between N2400 and N2500 in many of the states.
While nine-inch block in Enugu is sold at N200, and six-inch block goes for N160 per block, in Abuja, nine inches block sells for N180 and six inches for N160 as against the previous N150 and N130 respectively
But speaking on the development, Sani-Gwarzo cautioned the general public against panic purchase of cement due to the recent price increase of products in some parts of the country.
He said the Ministry has been working assiduously to engage all the relevant stakeholders in the cement manufacturing sector to address the lingering situation.
The Permanent Secretary further noted that there has been a massive build-up of demand from public works contractors as they are in a hurry to meet milestones and deadlines on projects across the country.
To address the situation, he said the Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Adeniyi Adebayo, would be engaging with relevant stakeholders in the cement industry with a view to meeting the increased demand of the commodity.
He added, “We urge the public not to embark on panic buying and storage of the product as the current market price is temporary.”
He assured the general public that government will continue to be on the alert to its responsibility of ensuring goods and services are available at reasonable prices.
He stated that the ministry will continue to monitor the situation while encouraging them to support market intelligence efforts by making relevant information available on the product.