Cement price rises

The prices of different brands of cement have increased astronomically leaving builders and home owners complaining seriously about the high cost. This has already triggered a ripple effect in the open market, with prices going up by about 44 percent in few days. Investigations revealed that operators under the Cement Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (CMAN) have raised prices of brands by N600 per bag in factories, including additional N100 cost for haulage. This has increased retail prices from N1,600 to N2,300 depending on location. In some areas, prices have shot up to N21,350 or higher.Members of the CMAN include Dangote Cement Plc, which is emerging as a market leader and has factories in Gboko, Benue State; Obajana, Kogi State; and Ibeshe, Ogun State. Other are: Lafarge Cement WAPCO Plc; Cement Company of Northern Nigeria Plc; Ashakacem Plc and Cross-River based United Cement Company. Vice President, Nigerian Institute of Building, Kunle Awobodu, said: “This is going to create crisis in the construction sector and bad blood between clients and contractors, as developers will make claims for fluctuations. “Invariably, it will lead to upward reviews of contract sums. New and on-going projects will be delayed until there is agreement on the contract variations. It can also expedite construction activities because of the anticipation of further increase.” According to an official in one of the cement manufacturing companies, the hike is not unconnected to difficult operating environment.