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Minister Accuses BUA Cement, Others Of Exploiting FX Volatility To Hike Price

 

The Minister of Housing and Urban Development, Arc. Musa Dangiwa has raised concerns about cement manufacturers using the fluctuating foreign exchange rates as a pretext to significantly increase cement prices, thereby adding to Nigeria’s economic challenges.

This issue was brought to light during a meeting Dangiwa convened with key figures from the cement industry, including Dangote Industries Limited’s Group Chief Commercial Officer Rabiu Umar, Lafarge Cement PLC’s Commercial Director Gbenga Onimowo, and the Cement Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (CMAN)’s Secretary James Salako, along with other senior executives from the industry.

The meeting took place at the Ministry’s headquarters in Abuja on Tuesday, as mentioned in a press release on the ministry’s website.

The minister criticized the cement manufacturers for their inadequate efforts to control the soaring prices of cement, highlighting an unacceptable price surge from N5,500 to over N10,000 in recent months, marking an increase of more than 100per cent.

“We know that some of the key components of producing building materials, especially cement, are locally sourced, so the recurring disproportionate increase in the price of cement is unacceptable and unreasonable. Key input materials such as limestone, clay, silica sand, and gypsum within our borders should not be dollar-rated.

“You cannot continue to give excuses and blame it on the dollar all the time. The worst part is that other building materials manufacturers take a cue from cement manufacturers, and once they see that you increase your price, they do the same. Recently, this is happening almost every week, and it has to stop”, he said.

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Dangiwa also emphasized that instead of passing the burden onto Nigerians in their pursuit of profits amidst minor macroeconomic challenges, cement manufacturers should engage in innovation and develop a strategy as members of the established committee.

Dangiwa added that the increase in the price of cement jeopardizes efforts in housing delivery, which is a principal focus of the Ministry and a major priority for the Bola Ahmed Tinubu administration.

“For example, if we were planning to build a one-bedroom apartment for about N8 million, it will now cost twice that much, about N16 million to build. If a Nigerian could afford to own a home of N8 million, it would now be impossible to do so. We are also aware of several persons who have had to suspend construction work because of this development”, he said.

He further stated that the Ministry is deeply concerned by the present situation, particularly in light of the initiatives it has launched aimed at delivering affordable and social housing to those with low and medium incomes, as well as to the vulnerable segments of the population.

“We have already awarded contracts for Renewed Hope Cities and Estates in 15 states of the Federation. There is also the PULAKU Initiative through which we intend to build at least 1,000 houses in seven (7) states affected by banditry. We are worried that the rising cost of cement and other building materials in the country will affect these plans”, he said.

The minister also instructed the Permanent Secretary, Dr. Marcus Ogunbiyi, to expedite the committee’s work and develop recommendations addressing the concerns raised by the manufacturers, for submission to the Federal Executive Council.

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