Home Special Edition How sky rocketing cement price is affecting businesses in South East

How sky rocketing cement price is affecting businesses in South East

by Uchenna Ezeadigwe Awka
6 minutes read

At a period when small scale businesses in the construction industry are beginning to pick up from the rubbles of coronavirus pandemic effect and vying for more prospective business ventures, cement an integral part of building material has continued to show serious threats to dealers and users of these products.
Our Correspondent who carried a market survey on price of cements in the south eastern states of Enugu, Anambra, Abia, Ebonyi and Imo shows that the prices of the product has increased almost by double when compared to the price in 2020.

Notwithstanding, some of the stakeholders, dealers and users of this input have revealed that the increase of price may not necessarily be from the manufacturers but highlighted high cost of transportation, increase in dollar exchange, monopoly market, hoarding of goods, lack of price control mechanism, herdsmen attack and increased demand as major causes of the ripple effect on price.

These have caused most block industries and dealers to shot down production as well as sales. While those producing do so to the detriment of retaining their customers.

News Echo took to the streets of major cities to ascertain the level of activities and possible solution to the exponential rise in price of cement products.


Enugu state known for its low cost of living and cheap commodity market is not left out of these ugly trend as business owners decry low level of patronage.
Ezenwa & sons enterprise a major distributor of cement in Abakpa told our Correspondent that they have been facing high price of cement products. He frowned at the rate in which price of cement has affected the eastern region stating while in the north and the middle belt it is never the same.

“I am not happy the way we are been treated here (in the east). Should I say because we Igbo are majorly investors or what, he queried?. No much sales as before because many people cannot afford the price”.

A cement dealer at Kenyetta Market in Enugu State capital, Mrs Chinwe Ozor said the increase in the product’s price started last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic which also affected an increase in dollar exchange. She noted that a trailer load of Dangote cement with 600 bags initially sold at N1.5 million in 2020 but presently valued at N2.3 million in the first quarter of 2021.

“The prices change on daily basis, so as we are talking now, I cannot guarantee the prices it will be sold tomorrow,” he said.
Mr Cletus Okeke at the popular Ogbete market, who is another retailer did not mince words when he expressed surprise at the rate price of the cement product were rising among the south eastern states.

According to him, “a bag of Dangote Cement is sold at N3, 900, Unicem for N3, 700; Bua Cement for N3, 700 and Kogi Super Cement is sold at N3, 600. Okeke lamented that few individuals were given opportunity to supply the cement product even when you have your money cash to pay”.
He however, pleaded with manufacturers to reduce the prices and make it available to the customers though he maintained that the prices would likely crash during raining season.


In Abia, a cross-section of residents of Umuahia, the state capital, also decried the high price of cement, which ranges from N4, 000 to N4,100 per 50kg bag.
News Echo gathered that the price hike had further dashed the hope of many Nigerians, wishing to own their personal homes.
A businessman, Mr Victor Ugwu, said he had to suspend his building project because of the “unfortunate development”.

Ugwu said: “I have stopped my project for now. I cannot afford to continue with the current price of the commodity. The economy is very bad so I hope to wait until there is a drop in the price.
“I think the hike can be attributed to the monopoly being enjoyed by the cement producers in the country. Unfortunately, there may not be any respite until that monopoly is broken.”

However, a cement dealer, Mr Ogbonna Kalu of Ubakala, Umuahia said the problem had nothing to do with the manufacturers of the commodity. Rather, Ogbonna blamed the price hike on the activities of “shylock distributors” of cement.
He said that the hike had affected his business adversely, adding that cement patronage had been at the lowest ebb, since the price hike.
“In the first and second week of March, we sold a bag for N3, 200, but within the third week we started selling at N3, 500.

“By the end of March, the price moved up to N4,000 and now, we sell between N4,000 and N4100, depending on the brand.”
Another dealer at the building material market Aba Mr Cosmos Oti said that his sales had dropped drastically as a result of the hike.
“We have a lot of challenges in this cement business now. When we make deposit and order for the goods, it takes about one month before we get delivery,” he said.


The situation in Awka, Onitsha and Nnewi seems to be in line with other neighboring states as stakeholders and block industries owners lament over the situation.

Mr Kenechukwu Okoye, a cement dealer along Zik Avenue, Awka said before the #EndSARS protest in 2020, a 50kg bag of cement was sold at N2,500. Shortly after the #EndSARS, the price rose to N3,000 and from there to the present price of N4,000 and N4,100, we are selling today,” he said.
Okoye noted that though the distributors initially blamed the problem on difficulties encountered by the hauling firm transporting the product, the situation had come to stay and nothing seems to be done about it.

Global Block Industry owner, Mr Tochukwu Eke, in Onitsha, noted that increase in the price of cement product affected his business as he still sells six-inch solid and nine-inch hollow block at 230 per one while six-inch hollow goes for 200 naira respectively.

“I managed to produce blocks and sell above 200 naira now in small quantity due to the change in price in order to retain my customers. Most of us have already wound up the business. This is as a result of astronomical rate in price of cement. This kind of scenario have also caused some of the block industries to reduce quality of their blocks,” he bemoaned.”

A site Engineer, residing in Awka, Mr Francis Ikolo who spoke to our correspondent said building a house presently cost a lot from buying cements and blocks which are integral part of the construction.

“I wanted to start a building in the village when the price was N2,800 last year but was waiting to see if it would come down. When I went back next time, I was told it was N3, 000 and to my greatest surprise, they sell N3,900 and N4,000 now in my village.

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