Block Moulders Fear Lowering Of Standards Over Cement Price Increase | Independent Newspapers Nigeria

LAGOS  – “May our members never fall to the temptations of lowering standards! May some of us never return to the days of 40 blocks per bag! If we increase the price of blocks anyhow, people will complain and might not buy.” 

The above were some of the lamentations by members of the National Association of Block Moulders of Nigeria (NABMON) over what they termed as a serious dilemma caused by an excessive increase in the price of cement, as contained in a communiqué signed by Adesegun Banjoko, and sent to DAILY INDEPENDENT. 

According to the communiqué, the Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON), Lagos State Materials Testing Laboratory and other relevant bodies expect them (NABMON) not to mould more than 30.9” blocks from a bag of cement. However, with the rapid rise in the price of cement, it is very unlikely that with the set standards, they will be able to break even. 

They narrated that going by reports reaching them from their various state chapters, some of their members have practically chosen to suspend production or only produce on customers’ requests as the ordinary man is not ready to buy blocks at just any price because of scarce resources. 

Hence, they are appealing to the government to assist in reducing the price of cement so that those who are struggling to build their houses will not be forced to stop construction work which might make their members suffer poor patronage. 

“Information reaching us has it that the current cement crisis is a rather unfortunate monumental experience occasioned by the post-Corona system turnaround maintenance challenges in the cement industry, causing face-to-face low production with even the peculiar dry season high demand for cement, thereby leading to high prices. 

“Other circumstantial developments relating to the hike in price include loose forex regime, increase in prices of gas, electricity tariffs, various compounding logistic challenges and the export of domestically scarce products to other neighbouring countries at beneficial high prices. The distributors are also not helping matters at a period of high prices of essential commodities for survival by adding their cut for economic realities of survival.” 

As a result of the above mentioned, they are posing the following questions: 

“Who is supposed to be in charge of forex, export, and security of lives and properties and when do we look forward to a return to a fair and stable price era? 

“Even when we are able to survive these emergencies, who will be responsible to create and enforce antitrust laws to checkmate the unholy oligopoly or cartel that has brought us to the original price as high as N2,500 in the first place? 

“When will our scientific researchers come out with good alternatives to the import-content of the cement raw materials, particularly now that our road contractors now keep using cement increasingly in their construction works, thereby increasing the demand curve?” 

While hopeful of the plans by the Nigerian Institution of Building (NIoB) towards conducting research for home-grown alternatives to building materials, they are asking the government to rise squarely to its responsibilities of giving the citizenry the confidence that somebody is truly in charge of affairs in the country.

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