The immediate past president of the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC), Ayuba Wabba, has berated Nigerian cement manufacturers over their exorbitant price fixing.
The NLC boss stated his displeasure with cement manufacturers on Wednesday following a nation-wide protest by organised labour after meetings between the union and President Bola Tinubu’s representatives ended in a deadlock.
Wabba noted that while Nigerians are made to pay exorbitantly for cement by these manufacturers, the case is not applicable in other African countries.
Wabba said, “All around the world, nowhere is the bourgeoisie that forms 10 percent continuing to give us what we want, and they feast on 90 percent of Nigerians. Find out how their lifestyle is very bogus. They feast on the poor. They feast on the working class. We create the wealth of this country, but few people misappropriate it, and we live in penury.
“I was engaging my colleague in Senegal a few weeks ago about the price of cement because some of the businessmen here also have investments in Senegal, and they said no when they wanted to behave like the way they behave in Nigeria.
The Senegalese government told them they could not fix the price of cement. It is the government that will fix the price of cement. We know your profit margin. We know how much you spend to do this business, and therefore the government must fix the price. In Zambia, the same thing The government fixes the price. Why exploit people when we have these resources given to us free of charge? Why should we suffer the consequences?”
The leading cement manufacturers in Nigeria are Dangote Cement, BUA, and Lafarge.
Dangote produces 51.6 million metric tonnes per year; BUA aims for 17 million metric tonnes per year; and Lafarge has established a 10.5 MTPA cement production capacity.
Dangote’s 50kg retail price for cement is N4,700; Lafarge’s retail price is N4,500; and BUA’s retail price is N4,700.
Wabba also addressed the Dangote refinery, which was commissioned in May 2023.
During the commissioning of the 650,000 barrels per day refinery, its owner, Aliko Dangote, stated that supply would begin in July. However, the refinery, which was expected to be a game changer, has yet to commence operations.
Ayuba said, “We are aware that they brought up the issue of the Dangote Refinery; it will be ready by the first quarter of 2023. It was commissioned, but is it producing?
“If we remain solely dependent on importation, two variables are not under our control: the exchange rate and the cost of crude oil in the international market, which means it is going to be the same vicious cycle that it has been for the past 30 years. It has been a vicious cycle and will continue to affect our economy, so the government must come up with immediate, medium, and long-term plans.
“Every worker on fixed wages is feeling the heat of this impact. I don’t see how the palliative care system will address this impact. The palliative is only a temporary measure, but the issue of the price increase will be permanent. Once the exchange rate goes up and continues to go up, the price will increase. Once the crude price on the international market increases, the price will go up.”