Some residents of the North-East have attributed the rise in the price of cement to the widening gap between the demand and supply of the product.
News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) survey in Bauchi, Gombe, Borno, Yobe, Adamawa as well as Jigawa states, indicated an average of 40 per cent increase in price.
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Respondents to the survey said several challenges affected production in factories, one of which is the outbreak of COVID-19, thus reducing supply, while demand kept increasing.
Some of the respondents also condemned the activities of middlemen, saying such people, as always, capitalised on the development to further worsen the situation.
They called on government to intervene by checking the unwholesome activities of some dealers and middlemen.
Others, however, blamed the hike on high cost of transportation and other sundry activities associated with the business of procurement and sales of cement in the country.
Malam Ibrahim Sanusi, a cement dealer at the Gombe main market, described the hike as “outrageous” when compared with the price of same commodity the previous year.
Sanusi said in December last year, he bought a bag of Dangote brand for N2,400 and sold it for N2, 500, same with Ashaka brand.
“Now, we buy Dangote Cement for N4, 000 from their depot in Gombe and sell for N4, 200, while the company price of Ashaka Cement is N3,900, and the retail price is N4, 000,” he said.
Another dealer in Gombe, Mr Danlami Joshua, said it was possible that the cost of transportation is a factor.
On his part, the Chairman of Gombe State chapter of Blocks Molders Association, Alhaji Bello Bose, said the hike in price was deliberate, adding that there had been shortage in the supply of particularly Dangote cement in the state.
“Since October 2020, there had been a scarcity of cement in Gombe State, and now, the price has been hiked. This, to me, is deliberate,” he insisted.
He added that many of his members would have left the trade if they had alternatives, and therefore called on government to intervene.
Efforts to secure comment from management of Ashaka Cement Company in Gombe state on the cause of the price hike, did not produce results.
When contacted, Head of Corporate Communications of the company, Mr Sarki Isa, promised to get back to NAN after consultations with concerned departmental heads, but as at the time of filing the report, there was still no response. (NAN)