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UPDATE: FG Threatens To Open Border For Cement Importation 

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UPDATE: FG Threatens To Open Border For Cement Importation 

 

The government is considering opening the borders to allow the importation of cement if Nigerian manufacturers do not decrease the price of the product.

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The Minister of Housing and Urban Development, Ahmed Dangiwa, expressed this warning during a meeting with cement and building materials producers.

 

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He emphasized that essential materials for cement production like limestone, clay, silica sand, and gypsum, which are locally sourced, should not be tied to foreign exchange rates.

 

Dangiwa pointed out that reasons such as the cost of gas and mining equipment cited by manufacturers for the price increase are not justifiable.

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Gas is readily available within the country, and mining equipment is a long-term investment that does not need frequent replacement.

 

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The minister highlighted that the closure of borders to cement importation was meant to support local manufacturers.

 

However, he cautioned that if borders are opened for mass importation, local prices would fall significantly, negatively impacting domestic producers.

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Encouraging manufacturers to prioritize national interest, Dangiwa mentioned that BUA Cement has shown readiness to lower prices below the agreed range of N7000 to N8000, and he urged others to follow suit.

 

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Rabiu Umar, the Group Chief Commercial Officer of Dangote Cement, attributed the rising cement prices to the high costs of gas and mining equipment.

 

He said, “The challenges you speak of, many countries are facing the same challenges and some even worse than that but as patriotic citizens, we have to rally around whenever there is a crisis to change the situation.

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“The gas price you spoke of, we know that we produce gas in the country. The only thing you can say is that maybe it is not enough.

 

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“Even if you say about 50 percent of your production cost is spent on gas prices, we still produce gas in Nigeria. It’s just that some of the manufacturers take advantage of the situation. As for the mining equipment that you mentioned, you buy equipment and it takes years and you are still using it.”

 

He said: “It is safe to say we are all Nigerians and we are all facing the current head weight that is happening. I would like to speak on the popular belief that most of the raw materials to produce cement are available locally.

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“While we have limestone and in some cases, we have gypsum and some cases coal, the reality is that it takes a lot of forex-related items to produce cement.”

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February 2024
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