Distributors Blame Dangote, BUA For Intentionally Causing Cement Price Hike, Scarcity
Residents in Kano and Katsina have blamed Dangote Cement, BUA Cement, and Sokoto Cement for the country’s ongoing cement shortages and price hikes.
According to the Nigerian News Agency, the situation has hampered construction projects and made bricklayers unemployed.
Contractor Kabiru Idi said he had to postpone some of his projects due to the high cost of construction materials.
“I wanted to keep going, but the high cost of building materials, including cement, forced me to stop,” he said.
According to him, a N2,650 (or N2,750) cement bag in 2020 would cost N3,650 or N3,750.
Mr Idi went on to say that the situation had caused many people to alter their building plans or put the project on hold.
Suraj Najeem, another contractor, said he had to review a contract he had with a company due to the high cost of materials, especially cement.
Because of the cement price crisis, some block industries have reduced the quality of their blocks, according to Mr Najeem.
Ado Bala, who is constructing a home in Kano’s Medile neighborhood, revealed that he has taken a break due to the high cost of cement and other construction materials.
Mr Bala said, “The government must find a way to assist us so that the poor can own their homes.”
Mr Bala noted that a six-inch block, which used to cost between N110 and N120, now costs between N130 and N140. A nine-inch block would set you back between N180 and N190 (formerly sold at N160).
The increase in cement prices, according to cement dealer Musa Saleh, is due to scarcity.
“Due to price fluctuations and shortage of the commodity, some shops were without a single bag of cement,” Mr Saleh said.
Mr. Saleh also accused some cement firms of artificially inducing shortage by diverting cement to neighboring countries.
Before the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, retailers in Katsina sold a cement bag for N2,600. It now costs between N3,500 and N3,700 in Nigeria.
The retailers blamed the shortage on product scarcity, claiming that major cement producers had reduced production.
Dangote, BUA, and Sokoto cement were among the producers, according to the retailers. According to Abubakar Aminu, a cement dealer in Katsina, companies cut output during the COVID-19 lockdown, and supply and price have remained unstable since then.
Mr Aminu stated that some of the companies had implemented new policies that made it difficult for most cement dealers to obtain the commodity.
According to him, Dangote, Nigeria’s largest cement maker, only sells to big dealers.
“In the past, all you had to do was open an account with the company and deposit money for a few cement trucks based on your ability.
Mr Aminu said, “Prior to the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, the price was stable, and the commodity was available almost everywhere in the world.”
“As a consequence of that policy, small dealers are no longer able to buy cement directly from the manufacturer,” he said.
“You must buy from major dealers who set the selling price if you want to stay in business.
“The big dealers market it to small dealers at a higher price than the original company price, and the small dealers sell it to customers at a higher price than previously available.”
Nigerians will continue to pay a higher price for cement unless the companies reverse their decision, according to Mr Aminu.