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Trade minister to reps: Cement producers need lower gas prices

Trade minister to reps: Cement producers need lower gas prices
May 21
23:06 2024

Doris Uzoka-Anite, minister of industry, trade and investment, says the gas concessions given to electricity companies should be extended to cement manufacturers to address the hike in the price.

Uzoka-Anite spoke at an investigative hearing by the house of representatives joint committee on solid minerals, industry, commerce and special duties, in Abuja on Tuesday.

Concessions are privileges or rights granted by a government to a company.

The minister, represented by Nura Rimi, permanent secretary, said cement manufacturers should be accorded the gas-to-light price as enjoyed by electricity distributors.

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She said this was also recommended at a recent meeting with David Umahi, minister of works, and major cement manufacturing companies.

“There is a need for friendly gas pricing, the meeting recommended the gas-to-power concession given to the electricity companies should also be enjoyed by the cement companies,” Uzoka-Anite said.

Highlighting some of the challenges cement manufacturers face, the minister said the cost of gas, high import duty on spare parts, road network, high foreign exchange, and smuggling of cement to neighbouring nations was an issue.

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She said the cement manufacturers and the government noted that the current high price of cement was abnormal in some locations nationwide.

Uzoka-Anite added that it was unanimously agreed that cement retail prices should not cost more than N7,000 to N8,000 per 50kg bag depending on the location.

The minister said the government advised cement manufacturers to set up a price monitoring mechanism to ensure compliance.

She added that manufacturers had willingly accepted to do so and sanction any of their distributors or retailers found wanting.

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According to Uzoka-Anite, Nigeria is self-sufficient in cement manufacturing with major players like Dangote Industries Ltd, BUA Group, and Lafarge.

She also said the ministry was deliberating on how the cement companies that stopped construction could be brought on board.

On his part, Gaza Gbewfi, chairman of the committee, said he wondered why cement manufacturers were complaining about roads when it was their activities that were largely responsible for the bad roads.

Gbewfi said it was also a corporate responsibility of the cement companies to ensure the maintenance of roads.

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The lawmaker, therefore, directed the ministry to make available its minutes with the cement manufacturers, a comprehensive report of all pioneer status issued to cement companies from inception, as well as the list of incentives available to them.

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