End Monopoly in Cement Industry, Manufacturers Urge

The Cement Producers Association of Nigeria has called on President Bola Tinubu to end the monopoly in cement production and distribution.

It also called for the inclusion of companies with verifiable local investments in cement within the participation scope.

The association made the requests in a letter addressed to the President and made available to our correspondent on Monday.

In the letter signed by its National Chairman,  David Iweta, and co-signed by the National Secretary, Reagan Ufomba, the association argued that Nigeria continues to be the country with the highest price tag on cement due to the inability of the industry to meet the demands for the commodity.

The letter read, “Cement being the major requirement to bridge the infrastructure gap, housing deficit, revenue earner, amongst other construction activities in the country must meet demand at a reasonable pricing as in most parts of the world.”

CEPAN noted that the profit margin of over 300 per cent by the three major cement plant owners in the country depicts how Nigerians are being cheated.

It said bigger cement plants in other developed economies of Switzerland, China, Mexico, Taiwan, and India can only boast profit margins between 13 per cent – 17 per cent.

It urged the government to revisit the backward integration policy of the late President Umar Yar’Adua on cement, which would allow the sector to meet the anticipated demands for the product in Nigeria.

It added, “The President, working with the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment and the Ministry of Finance must dismantle monopoly and expand the scope for participation by those with verifiable local investment in cement and other interests.

“As a practical demonstration of the exploitation of Nigerian cement consumers, the annual profit margin by the three major cement plant owners in Nigeria is over 300 per cent above bigger cement plants in other developed economies of Switzerland, China, Mexico, Taiwan and India with profit margin average of between 13 per cent – 17 per cent. The return on investment under international best practices Internal Rate of Return must not exceed 25 per cent.

“This can only happen where a cabal dictates industrial policies and not a democratically elected government.”

Similarly, the association demanded a probe into the utilisation of N13.2 billion in Cement Technology Funds.

It said the fund, currently domiciled with the Bank of Industry, was initiated under Yar’Adua’s government as part of an infrastructure drive to reduce the price of cement and ensure its price stability nationwide.

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