THE price of cement has gone up by about N600 in many cities in the South-West, the Nigerian Tribune can authoritatively report. According to media reports published by the Nigerian Tribune, Lagos, Ogun, Oyo, Ondo, Ekiti, Kwara and Osun states are hardest hit as cement price went up from N3,200 at the end of September to between N3,800 and N4,000 a bag as of Monday.

According to building experts, who spoke with our correspondent, the price increase was a consequence of scarcity of the major building material in the past two weeks as retailers of the product ran out of supply and were unable to restock.

The builders said, apart from slowing down their construction activities, the trend had also given room for vendors to increase cement price.

When contacted, a reliable source at Dangote Cement Company said though the company had a slight hitch at its Ibeshe plant, it was still rolling out cement to all parts of the country. A former President of the Nigerian Institute of Building (NIOB), Mr Kunle Awobodu, said if the scarcity persisted it would negatively impact the housing sector.

“We had the same experience last year when we were having a project in Port Harcourt, and immediately after #ENDSARS cement price went up to N4,500 per bag,” he said.

He, however, said he had not noticed any cement scarcity, adding that he still bought some bags of cement (Dangote and Lafarge) at N3,800 each on Monday in Lekki, Lagos.

According to him, scarcity of cement would affect prices of housing units and rental values, pointing out that builders would definitely pass the extra cost to the consumers, which are accommodation seekers.

Contacting one of the major distributors of Dangote Cement in Ogun State on Monday, the man, who refused to mention his name, said it was true that cement had been scarce in the last two weeks from the position depot.

When asked what he meant by position depot, he said the scarcity emanated from the Ibeshe plant in Ogun State.

According to him, there was a shortage of some of the materials for the manufacturing of cement, mentioning gypsum, an imported material for cement production. He stated that though Nigeria has limestone in abundance, other imported materials, which are not readily available, caused the scarcity of the commodity.

“It was so bad in the last two weeks that we can only get two trucks to supply cement from the factory. It has increased to three trucks this week. But I hope it will get better,” he said.

A block maker in Magboro, Ogun State, who identified himself simply as “Baba Esther” said he bought a bag of cement for N3,800 this morning as against N 3,600 he purchased the product last week.

When interviewed, one of the retailers in Ojodu, Lagos, Mrs Abiodun Peace, said that though she received 500 bags of cement about three days ago, the price of the commodity had been jacked up by the supplier.

According to her, a bag of cement that she sold for N3,400 in September sold for N3,800 on Monday. On other brands such as Lafarge cement, Abiodun said she was unable to get supply. She explained that the distributor of Lafarge cement in the area informed them (retailers) that the company had embarked on maintenance of its plant. This, she said, had also affected supply of the product.

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