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Dangote, BUA Cement Deliberately Causing Price Hike, Scarcity: Distributors

Kano and Katsina residents have blamed Dangote Cement, BUA Cement, and Sokoto Cement for the prevailing scarcity and constant hike in cement price across the country.

Some residents told the News Agency of Nigeria that the situation had affected building projects and left bricklayers redundant.

Kabiru Idi, a contractor, said he had delayed some of his projects due to the high cost of building materials.

“I want to continue, but I had to stop because of the high cost of building materials, including cement,” he explained.

According to him, a cement bag of N2,650 (or N2,750) in 2020 now costs N3,650 and N3,750.

Mr Idi added that the situation had forced many people to change their construction plans or suspend the project.

Another contractor, Suraj Najeem, said he had to review a contract he had with a company because of the high cost of materials, particularly cement.

Mr Najeem explained that some block industries had reduced their blocks’ quality because of the cement price crisis.

Ado Bala, who is building his house in Kano’s Medile area, disclosed that he took a break due to the high cost of cement and other building materials.

“The government needs to find a way to help us so that the poor can own their houses,” said Mr Bala.

Mr Bala pointed out that a six-inch block, sold between N110 and N120, sells at N130 and N140. A nine-inch block costs N180 and N190 (formerly sold at N160).

Musa Saleh, a cement dealer, attributed the rise in cement price to its scarcity.

“Some shops were without a single bag of cement due to the fluctuation in price and scarcity of the product,” Mr Saleh said.

Mr Saleh also accused some of the cement companies of creating artificial scarcity, alleging that they divert cement to neighbouring countries.

In Katsina, retailers sold a cement bag at N2,600 before the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic. Now, it costs between N3,500 and N3,700.

The retailers blamed the situation on the scarcity of the product, saying major cement manufacturers reduced their production.

According to the retailers, the manufacturers included Dangote, BUA, and Sokoto cement. Abubakar Aminu, a cement dealer in Katsina, claimed that the companies had cut production during the COVID-19 lockdown, and since then, the supply and price have remained unstable.

Mr Aminu claimed some of the companies had adopted new policies that made access to the product difficult for most cement dealers.

According to him, Dangote, a leading cement producer in Nigeria, sells cement only to major dealers.

“In the past, what you need to do is to open an account with the company and deposit money for few trucks of cement depending on your capacity.

“Before the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, the price was stable, and the product was available almost everywhere in the country,” said Mr Aminu.

He added, “As a result of that policy, small dealers no longer have access to buying cement directly from the manufacturer.

“If you want to remain in business, you have to buy from major dealers who determine the market price.

“The major dealers sell it to small dealers above the original company price, while the small dealers sell it to consumers at a price higher than what was obtainable before.”

Mr Aminu pointed out that unless the companies reversed the policy, Nigerians would continue to buy cement at a higher price.


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