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FG threatens to open borders for cement importation



Rising cost of cement is posing a thr£ to housing projects – FG cries out 
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The federal government has threatened the possibility of opening the borders to cement importation if Nigeria cement manufacturers refuse to play ball on cement reduction in the country.

It also said that although it is aware of the macroeconomic challenges facing the country some of the key components of producing building materials, especially cement, are locally sourced, and considers the recurring disproportionate increase in the price of cement as unacceptable and unreasonable.

Minister of Housing and Urban Development, Arc Ahmed Dangiwa, who made the declaration said key input materials for cement production such as limestone, clay, silica sand, and gypsum sourced within our borders, should not be dollar-rated.

Dangiwa made this known on Tuesday in Abuja at an emergency meeting held with cement and building materials manufacturers.

He said the price of gas that manufacturers are using as an excuse should not be because gas is a raw material found within the country and the excuse of an increase in mining equipment should not come up because equipment bought by these manufacturers has been used for decades and not just purchased every day.

The minister said the border was closed to the importation of cement to help local manufacturers but if the government decides to open it back for mass importation, prices of cement would crash and local manufacturers would be gravely affected.

READ ALSO: FG summons manufacturers over rising cost of cement

Dangiwa who called on the manufacturers to be more patriotic said BUA cement for instance has been willing and is still willing as at the last time he spoke with them to crash the price of their cement, lower than the N7000, N8000 agreed by the manufacturers and he sees no reason why the others should not do same.

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

Earlier in his speech, Group Chief Commercial Officer of Dangote Cement, Rabiu Umar blamed the high cost of gas and mining equipment for the hike in cement price.

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. 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.

“Most of the cement plants in Nigeria use gas to produce, the gas is indexed to a dollar and it is almost half of the total cost of production. So if 50 percent of your cost of production is indexed to the dollar it means if the dollar changes then your total expenditure would change in that direction.