A leading cement manufacturer, Dangote Cement Plc, has announced cuts in the prices of the product, a development seen as likely to make cement cheaper than it has ever been since 2005.
The new price regime announced by its Group Managing Director, Mr. Devakumar Edwin, indicated that the Dangote 32.5 cement grade is now pegged at N1,000 per 50-kilogramme bag, while the higher 42.5 grade is to sell for N1,150 per bag.
The new prices ? exclusive of the Value Added Tax (VAT) ? represent about 40 per cent discount on the prevailing market price of the product, which is being sold for N1,700 irrespective of the grade, across the country.
Edwin, in a statement yesterday, said the move was in line with the company?s commitment to the nation?s dire need for the development of infrastructure and to boost the federal and state government?s efforts to reduce the about 20 million housing deficit in Africa?s largest economy.
The statement added: ?We recognise the need for a dramatic increase in the response to the huge infrastructure and housing deficit in the country, and one of the ways of addressing the issue is bringing the price of building materials down to much more affordable levels, especially cement, as part of our own contribution to the transformation agenda of the President Goodluck Jonathan administration and the attainment of key milestones in the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs)?.
The statement claimed that since the begin of the implementation of the backward integration policy for cement in the country over 12 years ago, the local production capacity of the product rose from less than two million metric tonnes per annum to about 38 million metric tonnes per annum today.
It added that during the over 12 years? period of the policy, over $20 billion was directly and indirectly injected into the industry with Dangote Cement Plc accounting for 60 per cent of the amount.
Edwin also noted that the company would continue to ensure alignment of its corporate social responsibility with its strategic business initiatives and also evaluate its pricing regime in Nigeria?s best interest.
In compliance with the Standards Organisation of Nigeria?s (SON) directive and regulation on the various grades of cement and their prescribed uses, Dangote cement launched its brand of the premium 32.5 cement grade, which has been restricted to plastering use only.
The country?s largest cement producer noted that the move was to develop a full bouquet of cement types to meet the varying needs of consumers for the different grades of cement.
The company, with this move, now produces 42.5 for column casting, block making, decking and other general purpose construction work that require high strength, while also producing the 32.5 grade for rendering or plastering.
Following the price reduction, the National President of the Block Moulders Association of Nigeria, Alhaji Rasidi Adebowale, said he received the news with happiness, especially on what the price reduction holds for his members in Nigeria. He expressed the hope that the new price review would translate to reduction in the price of blocks.
Also, the President of the Nigerian Institute of Architect Bruno Niyi hailed the decision and urged the management of the company to sustain the new price regime and ensure it was not hijacked by profiteers.