Despite FG’s Assurances, Cement Price Soars Unabated

government - January 5, 2022

The federal government has failed to rein in the rising prices of cement in the country, despite earlier assurances to helpless Nigerians, THISDAY findings reveal.

The unit price of cement had been on a consistent rise in the past one-year, with no end in sight for a possible reduction.

In January last year when the commodity sold for about N3, 800, the federal government while lamenting the rising prices, attributed the trend to production challenges, adding that it was engaging stakeholders in the industry to address the issue.

Cement prices had since risen by over 50 per cent, in spite of the assurances by the government to arrest the situation, raising concerns by Nigerians.

The Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Mr. Niyi Adebayo, had urged the public not to embark on panic buying and storage of the product as the current market price was temporary.
He said that discussion between the government and cement manufacturers was being ramped up in order to meet the increased demand of the commodity.

Nonetheless, the retail price of cement in Abuja and its environs is currently at over N5, 000.
The minister had blamed the hike in the price of cement on reduction in production volumes in the second and third quarters of 2020 as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the EndSARS protests as well as downtimes in some manufacturing plants.

Adebayo said the development affected the volume of stockpile in the supply chain due to the reduction of cash flow to major distributors as well as high cost of transportation.

He further observed that there had been massive build-up of demand from public works contractors as they strive to meet milestones and deadlines on projects across the country.

He further assured the public that government would continue to be on the alert to its responsibility of ensuring goods and services are available at reasonable prices.

But, one year on, amidst economic recovery and normalization of business activities, the government is yet to assuage the concerns of Nigerians by finding lasting solution to the rising cement prices in the country.

Analysts believed the trend could hamper efforts to close the existing housing deficit as well as lead to abandonment of ongoing construction projects by both public and private individuals because of the high cost of the commodity and associated building materials.

Already house rent has more than doubled within the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) as a direct consequence of cement price hike, causing further economic hardship for Nigerians.