Over the past three years, the cement price in Nigeria has skyrocketed by 100%, reaching a new high of N7,000, driven by the country’s escalating inflation. In March 2021, cement prices in Lagos and Ogun States were between N3,300 and N3,500 but have since soared to N6,500 to N7,000. The surge in prices has been attributed to a global increase in demand following the COVID-19 pandemic, according to Dangote Cement’s Devakumar Edwin. He explained that the company had to halt exports to meet local demand, missing out on dollar earnings.
The Block and Concrete Producers Association of Enugu State has voiced concerns over the continuous price hike, adversely affecting their production and income. They appealed to the government for intervention, suggesting issuing more cement production licenses to reduce costs. The Cement Producers Association of Nigeria also warned that the government’s plan to introduce concrete roads could push prices up to N9,000 per bag, urging for measures to ensure cement remains affordable for Nigerians.
The dramatic rise in cement prices in Nigeria over the last three years clearly indicates the country’s broader economic challenges. The doubling of prices from around N3,500 to N7,000 impacts the construction industry and has far-reaching implications for housing affordability and infrastructure development. This situation underscores the urgent need for comprehensive policy interventions to stabilize the market and ensure that essential building materials remain accessible to all Nigerians.
The government’s role in facilitating a competitive market environment cannot be overstated. By encouraging more players in the cement industry, the government can help break monopolies and oligopolies that contribute to price hikes. Additionally, investing in local production capabilities and reducing reliance on imports can help insulate the market from global supply chain disruptions, such as those experienced during the COVID-19 pandemic.
As we navigate these challenging economic times, it is crucial for policymakers, industry stakeholders, and the community at large to engage in constructive dialogue and collaboration. The goal should be to develop sustainable solutions that address rising cement prices and contribute to the broader objective of economic stability and growth. Let this be a call to action for all involved to work towards a future where essential goods and services are within reach for every Nigerian.
Did You Know?
- Nigeria is one of the largest producers of cement in Africa, yet the domestic price of cement remains one of the highest on the continent.
- The global cement industry saw a significant surge in demand post-COVID-19 as countries embarked on infrastructure and construction projects to stimulate economic recovery.
- Cement production is energy-intensive, and fluctuations in energy prices can directly impact cement prices.
- The introduction of concrete roads, while potentially increasing cement demand and prices, can offer long-term benefits in terms of durability and maintenance costs compared to asphalt roads.
- Innovations in green cement production, aimed at reducing the carbon footprint of cement manufacturing, are gaining traction globally as part of efforts to combat climate change.