Reps alarmed by rising cement prices, considers it harmful to economy

The recent hike in the price of cement is worrisome.

The House of Representatives, has expressed worry over continual rise in the price of cement, saying it is detrimental to the entire economy.

The Deputy Speaker, Rep. Benjamin Kalu said this at an investigative hearing on Arbitrary Increase in Cement Price in Abuja on Tuesday, organised by the House Joint Committee on Solid Minerals, Industry, Commerce and Special Duties in Abuja.

Kalu said that cement remained a fundamental component in construction of vital infrastructure such as bridges, dams, houses, waterworks, and road. He said that Nigeria had a housing deficit of 16.9 million going by statistics.

“According to the World Bank, Lagos, Ibadan, Kano, and Abuja, have a 20% rise in housing needs yearly.”

He said that the total output in the formal housing sector was estimated at not more than 100,000 units. The lawmaker added that bridging the gap required affordable and accessible cement prices for both the government and the private sector.

He said while factors such as exchange rates had contributed to rising prices of commodities, it was encouraging to see the value of naira increasing sharply against dollar.

“Notably, the naira has shown remarkable strength against the dollar in past weeks, and Fitch Ratings, a global credit rating agency, recently revised Nigeria’s credit outlook to positive from stable.

“We are also dedicated to enacting laws that prevent a recurrence of the factors that led to the current situation,” he said.

Speaking, the Chairman of the committee, Rep. Jonathan Gaza, said the recent hike in the price of cement was worrisome.

“Nigeria has high deficit of housing and other infrastructure.

“To close this gap, both government and the private sector must be articulate and deliberate in putting the right policies and parameters in place to encourage development.

“Therefore, should the price of cement which is a major component for infrastructure development continues to soar uncontrollably, the tendency to stifle life out of that sector is high and the consequences very detrimental,” Gaza stated.

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