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Saturday, July 23, 2011

New moves over cement manufacturing and importing in Nigeria as Dangote crash

Apparently unable to meet the president’s deadline to crash prices drastically, cement manufacturers in the country, under the auspices of Cement Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (CMAN),
would hold a technical meeting in Calabar next week on new moves to make the product available at reasonable prices.

The technical meeting, which holds in Calabar next Thursday, to be hosted by the United Cement Company of Nigeria (UniCem), the third largest manufacturer, would bring together all CMAN members including importers of the product.

Meanwhile, the Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON), the manufactured products quality regulatory body in the country, is attending the meeting to provide details on cement quality for the manufacturers and importers.
Nigeria newspapers reliably gathered that the CMAN meeting is the first in what would be a bi-annual event to be rotated among the CMAN members, as well as importers of the product.

Cement importation is still predominant in Nigeria, accounting for about $300 million in imports for a product that the country’s seven manufacturers have combined productive capacity of 10.5 million metric tons, as against national demand of more than 15.8 million metric tons.

Although some major cement manufacturers have undertaken price slashes, stakeholders feel the product’s prices are yet unaffordable to most potential consumers.

Over a week ago, the Dangote Group crashed its product price to N1,350 per bag ex-factory, while the United Cement Company of Nigeria (UniCem), Calabar, weeks back, lowered its to N1,600 and N1,700.

But analysts find the new prices still on the high side; especially given the N400 per bag demanded by transporters, which still adds up the price per bag to N1,750.

The CMAN, SON meeting is also expected to deliberate in-depth considerations by a number of the manufacturers to embark on direct haulage of cement; as a way to get around the high haulage tariff charged by truck owners.

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