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Reps set to investigate surge in cement prices

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By Kenny EMMANUEL

 

The House of Representatives has resolved to investigate the surge in cement prices nationwide.

On Wednesday, the House saddled its Committees on Solid Minerals Development, Commerce, Industry, and Special Duties.

The legislative body invited key cement manufacturers, including industry giants Dangote and BUA, over hike in cement price.

This action followed a motion presented by Hon. Gaza Jonathan Gbefwi and Hon. Ademorin Kuye during a plenary session in Abuja.

Lawmakers raised concerns over a drastic spike in cement prices, soaring by up to 50%, which has substantially inflated building costs, construction expenses, and consequently, rental prices across the country.

During the motion, attention was drawn to the local sourcing of raw materials for cement manufacturing, such as lime, silica, alumina, iron oxide, and gypsum, insulating the industry from exchange rate fluctuations.

Moreover, stable production factors and elements in the cement production process over the years cast doubt on the justification for price hikes.

Hon. Gbefwi voiced deep concern over the perceived exploitation of exchange rate fluctuations by manufacturers as grounds for unjustified price increases.

He accused industry leaders of imposing undue hardships on Nigerians by raising rent and associated costs, despite stable production expenses.

Hon. Gbefwi emphasised, “The increase is a direct affront and sabotage of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s administration’s effort to bring comfort to the populace and should be resolved immediately.”

Yusuf Gagdi in his contribution, highlighted that despite various federal government interventions aimed at facilitating business for cement manufacturers, the price hike seemed unwarranted.

Hon. Babajimi Benson echoed similar sentiments, stressing the need for a sectoral debate and inviting manufacturers before relevant committees to provide explanations.

Hon. Sada Soli urged the House to consider the perspective of cement manufacturers, emphasizing the impact of production costs.

He advocated for compassion towards national economic issues, noting that these manufacturers often generate their own power and could potentially withdraw investments.

 

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