Economy

Residents of Kano and Katsina accuse manufacturers of cement price

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By Maharazu Ahmed
Some residents of Kano and Katsina states blamed cement makers for the scarcity and high cost of cement across the country.

Some residents told the Nigeria News Agency (NAN) that the situation had affected construction projects and left masons redundant.

Alhaji Kabiru Idi, a building contractor, said he had delayed some of his projects due to the high cost of building materials.

“I want to continue but had to stop because of the high cost of building materials, including cement,” he explained.

According to him, a bag of cement that cost between N2,650 and N2,750 in 2020 is now sold for N3,650 and N3,750.

Idi added that the situation had forced many people to change their construction plans or put the project on hold.

Another entrepreneur, Suraj Najeem, said he had to review a contract he had with a company due to the high cost of materials, especially cement.

Najeem explained that some block industries have since reduced the quality of their blocks in an attempt to make a profit.

Ado Bala, who is building his personal house in the Medile district of Kano, said he took a break due to the high cost of cement and other building materials.

“The government must find a way to help us, so that the poor can own their homes,” he said.

Bala said that a six-inch block, which was sold between N110 and N120, is now sold for N130 and N140 while a nine-inch block is sold at N180 and N190, up from N160.

Musa Saleh, a cement merchant, attributed the rise in the price of cement to the scarcity of the product.

“Some stores did not have a single bag of cement due to fluctuating prices and the scarcity of the product,” he said.

Sale also accused some of the cement plants of creating an artificial shortage, alleging the products were being diverted to neighboring countries.

In Katsina, retailers selling a bag of cement at 2,600 N before the COVID-19 pandemic outbreak, now sell it between 3,500 and 3,700 N.

Retailers blamed the situation on the scarcity of the product, alleging that major cement manufacturers had cut production.

According to them, the main manufacturers involved are Dangote cement, BUA and Sokoto.

Alhaji Abubakar Aminu, a cement merchant in Katsina, claimed that companies cut production during the COVID-19 lockdown and since then supply and price have remained volatile.

Aminu said some of the companies had adopted new policies that made it difficult for most cement dealers to access the product.

According to him, Dangote, which is the main producer of cement in Nigeria, now only sells cement to large dealers, unlike it used to be when the company was dealing with large and small dealers.

“In the past, what you had to do was open an account with the company and deposit money for a few trucks of cement depending on your capacity.

“Before the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, the price was stable and the product was available almost everywhere in the country.

“As a result of this policy, small dealers no longer have access to purchasing cement directly from the manufacturer.

“If you want to stay in business, you have to buy from big dealers who set the market price.

“The big dealers sell it to the smaller dealers above the initial company price, while the smaller dealers sell it to consumers at a higher price than what was previously available,” he said.

He said the manufacturers have not actually raised the price of the products, but their new policies have led to the current increase in the price of cement across the country.

Aminu said that unless companies reverse the policy, Nigerians will continue to buy cement at a high price. (NOPE)

(NAN)

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