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Push FG To Grant Gas Concession To Cement Manufacturers Like Electricity Companies – Trade Minister Tells Reps

The Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Doris Uzoka-Anite, has urged the lawmakers to push for the gas concession given to electricity companies be extended to cement manufacturers as a means of addressing the hike in the product.

The Minister who was represented by the Permanent Secretary, Ambassador Nura Rimi, said this during an investigative hearing by the House of Representatives Joint Committee on Solid Minerals, Industry, Commerce and Special Duties, to probe the price increase on Tuesday.

“The cement manufacturers should be accorded ‘the gas to light price’ as enjoyed by electricity distributors,” she said.

She pointed out that a recent meeting with the Minister of Works, Engr. David Umahi and major cement manufacturing companies recommended the same.

“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,” she said.

She identified some of the challenges facing cement manufacturers to include cost of gas, high import duty on spare parts, ad road network, high foreign exchange, and smuggling of cement to neighbouring nations.

She said the cement manufacturers and the Government noted that the current high price of cement is abnormal in some locations nationwide; it was unanimously agreed that cement retail prices should not cost more than 7,000.00 to 8,000.00 per 50kg bag depending on the location.

She said the government advised cement manufacturers to set up a price monitoring mechanism to ensure compliance, and manufacturers have willingly accepted to do so and to sanction any of her distributors or retailers found wanting.

She noted that the country is self-sufficient in cement manufacturing with major players like Dangote industries Limited, BUA Group, and Lafarge Holcin.

She said the Ministry was deliberating on how the Cement companies that stopped constructions can be brought on board, hear their challenges and find a way of bringing them back in the sector.

However, the committee members were not satisfied with the submissions by the minister.

Chairman.of the committee , Hon. Jonathan Gbewfi wondered why cement manufacturers were complaining about roads, when it is their activities that are largely responsible for the roads.

“It the corporate responsibility of the cement companies to ensure the maintenance of the road, especially as they were incentives for them.”

Other members also wondered why Forex was an issue as most of their materials were sourced locally.

Gbewfi directed the Ministry to make available its minute with the cement manufacturers, a comprehensive report of all pioneer status issued to all the cement companies from Inception and list of the incentives available to them.

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