In the southeast, cement prices are rising

In the southeast, cement prices are rising

Cement prices rose 67% in the southeastern states of Abia, Anambra, Ebony, Enugu and Imo, according to the Nigeria News Agency (NAN).

A market survey conducted by NAN with various wholesalers and retailers in the area shows that the price of the product has nearly doubled its price in 2020.

A cement trader at the Kenyette market in the capital of Enugu state, Mr. Ifeani Amadi, said the product’s price rises last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the appreciation of the dollar.

He noted that the 600-bag Dangote cement truck was originally sold for 1.5 million Argentine pesos in 2020, but is now worth 2.3 million in the first quarter of 2021.

“Prices change daily, so as we speak now, I cannot guarantee prices that will be sold tomorrow,” he said.

Another Uwani retailer, Samuel Uwakwe, said he was surprised at the price of the product in the country.

According to him, a bag of Dangote cement sells for N3,900, Unicem for N3,700; Bua Cement for N3,700 and Kogi Super Cement for N3,600.

Uwakwe complained that few people were given the opportunity to supply the product and pleaded with suppliers to lower prices and make it available to citizens.

He argued that prices are likely to fall during the rainy season.

Mr Albert Okechukwu, owner of the block industry, noted that the rise in the price of the product had an impact on his business as he was still selling six-inch and nine-inch blocks at N170 and N180, respectively.

“This is the same price we sold last year and it remains the same until today because we cannot change the price to keep our customers, but in most block industries, the quality of their blocks is declining,” he said.

Site engineer, mr. Emma Ugwuoke said she wanted to start building in the village when the price was 2800 Argentine francs last year, but was waiting for it to fall.

“The next time I came back, they told me it was N3000, and to my surprise, now N3900 and N4000 are being sold in my village.

“There’s nothing you can do but buy it like this. I want the government to take urgent action because buying cement at that price is disappointing, ”Ugwuoke said.

In Abia, some residents of Umuahia, the state capital, also denounced the high cement price, which ranges from 4,000 to 4,100 N for a 50 kg bag.

Those who spoke to NAN said the price increases further undermined the hope of many Nigerians wanting to own their own homes.

Businessman Viktor Ugwu said that he had to suspend construction due to “unsuccessful development.”

Ugwu said, “For now, I have stopped my project. I cannot afford to continue with the current price of the goods.

“The economy is bad, so I hope to wait until prices fall.

“I think this increase is due to the monopoly of cement producers in the country. Unfortunately, there can be no respite until this monopoly is broken. “

However, the cement trader mr. James Ogbonna said the problem was not related to the product manufacturers.

Most likely, Ogbonna attributed the rise in prices to the activities of “shy distributors” of cement.

He said the increase had a negative impact on his business, adding that cement patronage was at its lowest since the price hike.

He said: “In the first and second week of March we sold the bag at 3,200 N, but during the third week we started selling at 3,500 N.

“By the end of March, the price has risen to 4,000 n. E., And now we are selling from 4,000 to 4,100 N.E. E., depending on the brand. “

Another trader, Mr. Godwin Okafor, said his sales had plummeted due to the increase.

“Currently, we have a lot of problems in the cement business. When we post a deposit and order the goods, it takes about a month before we receive the goods, ”he said.

This is similar to the situation in Avka in Anambra, where stakeholders condemn the situation.

Mr Kenechukwu Okoye, a cement trader in Zeke Avenue, Avka, said that prior to the #EndSARS protest in 2020, a 50kg bag of cement was sold for N2500.

“Shortly after #EndSARS, the price went up to N3,000, and from there to the current prices of N4,000 and N4,100, we sell today,” he said.

Okoye said that although distributors initially attributed the problem to the difficulties the shipping company faced in transporting the product, the situation remained.

In Owerri, the capital of Imo, cement prices range from 3,850 to 4,300 Argentine pesos, depending on the brand.

In the building materials market in Naz, the Municipal District of Owerri North, Dangote and BUA cement are sold at 4,000 N per bag, and BUA and UNICEM are sold at 3,900 N.

Mr. Seller Okechukwu Okonya said the cost could be associated with high transportation costs due to fuel prices.

Oconya also said large retailers sometimes store goods in their warehouses to create artificial shortages.

Another trader, Mr. Marcel Yves, agreed that while the large retailers had stockpiled, manufacturers also complained about the rising cost of raw materials.

Yiwu added that prices could rise or fall at any time, noting that even if prices fell, traders would like to sell their old shares at higher prices.

According to the National Academy of Sciences, in Abakaliki, Ebony, prices for almost all building materials have increased.

Prices for concrete, reinforcement of various sizes, corrugated roofing sheet and other building materials and accessories have been increasing since January as a result of NAN.

Dangote and Bua, which traded at N2,500 in early November and December 2020, have now traded between N4000 and N4500.

Likewise, the price of Unicem cement, sold over the same period at N2,300, also rose to N4,000 and N4,300.

Mr. John Oko, a cement trader in the Kpiri-Kpiri market, in an interview with NAN explained this by the lack of a price control mechanism and the high exchange rate of the naira against the dollar.

“Development actually affects sales and business because many builders have stopped their construction projects and other construction projects because they cannot handle the current high cost of the product.

Another resident, Mr. Clement Igbo, who owns a block molding business, said the high cost of cement was hampering production, saying it was no longer producing at full capacity due to a lack of buyers.

“A lot of Dangote cement, which is one of the best products for our business, sells for N4500 and is difficult to buy at this prevailing price and produce enough.

“Prior to this price hike, we sold 6″ and 9 “blocks at N150 and N200, but now 6” blocks are sold at N220, and 9 “blocks are sold at N250 and N300, respectively.

“Many block businesses in the city have stopped production and some have violated standards, posing a serious threat to the construction industry,” Igbo said.

He expressed concern that the high cost of concrete, which resulted in the wrong mix of concrete for construction purposes, could affect the quality and standards of buildings.

Mr. Jerry Onwe, an economic activist, has called on the federal and state governments to revive the dying cement plants in the states to meet the growing demand for cement consumption in Nigeria.

He noted that finding mass housing for poor Nigerians will remain elusive unless urgent action is taken to address the high cost of building materials in Nigeria.

“In a country where the average worker earns 30,000 N a month as a wage at home, how can such a person afford to own a home, given the prevailing prices of building materials?

“We have reached a crossroads on building materials and now is the time for the government to step in and take control of the situation.

“The Nkalagu Cement Plant in Ebonyi will be able to meet the cement needs of the entire southeast if properly rehabilitated,” Onwe said.

Source: – Guardian Ng

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