• Thursday, June 13, 2024
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Cement price: Reps give BUA, Dangote, others 14 days to make submissions

Nigeria’s cement price 69% higher than India’s – Reps raise alarm

The joint committee of the House of Representatives investigating the surge in the prices of cement has given a 14-day ultimatum to BUA, Lafarge Ashaka, Dangote Cement, and other cement manufacturers to appear before it and make their submissions on the hike in the prices of the product.

The committee expressed concerns over the hike in the prices of cement in Africa’s most populous nation, compared to other countries.

Jonathan Gaza Gefwi, chairman of the joint committee, lamented the disparity in prices when compared to countries like Kenya and Zambia.

He said Nigeria’s price of cement was higher than that of India by 69 percent, Kenya by 29 percent Zambia by 39 percent.

“A review of cement prices in other countries like Kenya, India and Zambia for 2021 alone showed that Nigeria had the highest price of cement using the official exchange rates for each country.

“There’s a need for us to come together and find ways of bringing succour to our citizens while protecting investors alike”, Gefwi said.

The committee had in March summoned Dangote Cement plc, BUA, Ibeto and others to appear before it at its investigative hearing, but all the companies failed to appear for the hearing scheduled for Tuesday, May 7.

Gefwi berated the companies for shunning the invitation, describing the action as insensitive to the plight of Nigerians. The committee, therefore, issued a 14-day ultimatum to the cement manufacturers to appear before it for the hearing.

The committee also summoned Dele Alake, the minister of solid minerals development, to appear before it on Tuesday, May 21, while Dangote, BUA, IBETO and others are to appear on Monday, May 20, 2024.

Gbefwi, who represents Karu/Keffi/Kokona Federal Constituency, Nasarawa State, said the parliament was not in receipt of a court order restraining it from inviting anybody or companies for investigative purposes.

“We are trying to see to the development of our country. Just as it was emphasised in the opening remarks, cement is to a building what air is to every human being. In the human nature of the House, because we owe them a duty of care because they are equally Nigerians, we are giving them 14 days to make their submissions.

“If not, as we have sworn to uphold the constitution, we will use everything within our powers to make sure that Nigerians are not taken for granted and are not exploited. We will not sit back while some companies declare billions in naira and dollars every day while our people can barely afford to get a decent roof over their heads.”

“We have seen in Lagos where you have Nigerians under the bridge and paying rent. Why? If this product was available, I do not believe we would go to that length. Moreover, God has given to this nation, resources in abundance. So, this joint committee resolves to give them 14 days from now, and not 14 working days but 14 days to make sure that they make their submissions and appear before this House,” he said.

Earlier, Abbas Tajudeen, the speaker of the House, represented by the deputy speaker, Benjamin Kalu, pledged the readiness of the House to come up with appropriate legislation to encourage the industrialisation of the country.