Akpabio: Senate to probe high cement prices

The Senate President, Godswill Akpabio on Wednesday assured Nigerians that the house has mandated Committee on Industries to unravel the reasons behind the increase in the price of cement by producers of the commodity in Nigeria.

According to Akpabio, the committee has been directed to find a possible solution to the high prices of cement and influence the manufacturing companies in the country to adhere to the regulations.

The resolution was sequel to a motion sponsored by the senator representing Kwara South, Lola Ashiru, during the plenary.

Mr Ashiru, a member of the All Progressives Congress (APC), complained that the price of cement increased drastically from N5,000 to N15,000 without proper regulations.

The senator said the current price of the product is unbearable to Nigerians considering the high cost of living that Nigerians are already grappling with.

He said the increase in the price has affected construction projects and infrastructure handled by individuals and government parastatals.

Mr Ashiru expressed worry that many projects have been abandoned due to the high cost of cement in the country.

“Contractors are facing serious problems leading to stalling of projects which is threatening employment of the youths,” he said.

The senator also warned that if the government failed to regulate the price of cement, the rate of unemployed youth in the country and insecurity challenges will continue to worsen.

“High youth unemployment is linked to an increase in crimes,” he said.

He said regulating cement prices “will ensure the progress of constituency projects and strengthen national security by providing jobs and stability and improve the livelihood of Nigerians generally.”

Mr Ashiru therefore prayed the Senate to look into the issue to enable the cement manufacturing companies operating in Nigeria regulate their prices and affordable to Nigerians.

Majority of the senators supported the motion when it was put to debate through voice votes.

The Senate President thereafter directed that the Senate Committee on Industries chaired by Francis Fadahunsi, the senator representing Osun East, should look into the issue and report back within two weeks.

The Minister of Works, David Umahi, and his Trade and Investment counterpa, Doris Uzoka-Anite,

had on Monday met with cement manufacturers in the country over the new price of cement. Those at the meeting included Representatives of BUA Cement, Dangote Cement, Lafarge and Cement Producers Association.

The following day, the Minister of Housing and Urban Development, Ahmed Dangiwa, also met with Cement and Building Materials Manufacturers, over the price.

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