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Reps summon Dangote, Abdulsamad, others to address rising cement prices

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Reps summon Dangote, Abdulsamad, others to address rising cement prices

Top cement manufacturers Aliko Dangote and Rabiu Abdulsamad, along with other industry leaders, have been summoned by the House of Representatives to address the escalating prices of cement that are causing financial hardships for Nigerians.

The resolution to summon these industry giants was made following a motion titled “Arbitrary Increase in the Price of Cement by Manufacturers in Nigeria,” presented by Mr. Gaza Gbefwi, a member representing Karu/Keffi/Kokona Federal Constituency, Nasarawa State, during a plenary session on Wednesday.

The motion was also supported by Ademorin Kuye, a member representing Shomolu Federal Constituency, Lagos State.

During the debate led by Gbefwi in a session presided over by Speaker Abbas Tajudeen, concerns were raised about the significant price hikes in cement, which have had a ripple effect on the cost of building materials, construction, and rental prices nationwide.

Gbefwi pointed out that despite the fact that the raw materials for cement production are locally sourced and unaffected by foreign exchange rates, the price of cement continues to increase almost weekly.

Gbefwi also noted that the factors of production and elements of the cement production flow chart “Are sourced locally and have not changed significantly year-on-year,” stressing that “Cement manufacturers are capitalizing on exchange volatility to arbitrarily increase the price of the product, whose cost of production has not changed significantly since last year.”

According to him, a small but powerful “cement cabal” is unconscionably inflicting hardship on Nigerians “as the prices of rent and associated services have increased.

In his contribution, a member representing Kanke/Pankshin/Kanam Federal Constituency, Plateau State, Yusuf Gagdi wondered why Nigerians are being subjected to untold hardship by cement manufacturers, adding that “Nigeria cement is a big market for Niger Republic, Cameroon, and other neighbouring countries.”

He said, “Why should Nigerians continue to suffer from incessant increases in the price of cement? We have to rise and defend the common man.

I think it is important we invite the manufacturers to tell this house what is going on because we can’t continue like this.”

On his part, the Deputy Minority Whip of the House, George Ozodinobi, called for the mass importation of cement into the country to force down the price.

The lawmaker who represents Njikoka/Dunukofia/Anaocha Federal Constituency, Anambra State, said, “Let us open the floodgate of importation of cement into the country.

This will bring down the price of the product.”

Ozodinobi also recalled that when cement importation was the norm, the price was stable and affordable.

“When the man from Nnewi and Chairman of the Ibeto Group, Cletus Ibeto, was given the opportunity to bring in cement into the country, the price came down drastically but he was frustrated out of the system,” he lamented.

However, the duo of Sada Soli (APC, Katsina) and Babajimi Benson (APC, Lagos) called for caution, arguing that many factors come into play in determining the price of a product.

According to Jimi, “It is either the frequent increment caused by production cost or something else.

Let us invite the manufacturers to meet with the relevant committees.”

Similarly, Soli urged the lawmakers to remember that Nigeria has become a net exporter of cement to other African countries and as such, manufacturers should be supported to hold on to their market lead. “Let us understand the place of cost of production.

These people bought these companies and turned them around. In most cases, they provide their power.

Let us not be complacent when we are talking about issues concerning the national economy. Let us support these people because they can withdraw their investments,” he stated.

Following the adoption of the motion, the House summoned the manufacturers to appear before it in the next sectorial debate, just as it mandated its Committees on Solid Minerals Development, Commerce, Industry, and Special Duties to investigate the arbitrary increase in the price of cement by manufacturers in the country and report back within four weeks for further legislative action.

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