By our reporter| Dangote Cement Plc has denied reports that the company sells cement in Nigeria at significantly higher prices relative to other countries, particularly Ghana and Zambia.
Devakumar Edwin, the company’s group executive director for strategy, portfolio development, and capital projects, who made the disclosure during a briefing with reporters, on Monday, said although the company has direct control over its ex-factory prices, it cannot control the ultimate price of cement in various markets.
Apparently responding to reports that trended on social media accusing the company of extortion and hike prices when compared to other African countries, Edwin described the allegations as products of misinformation in the cement industry.
According to him, while a bag of cement sells for an equivalent of $5.1, including value added tax (VAT) in Nigeria, it sells for $7.2 in Ghana and $5.95 in Zambia ex-factory, inclusive of taxes.
Edwin further explained that cement from the company’s factories and plants nationwide sells for N2,450 in Obajana and Gboko, and N2,510 in Ibese inclusive of VAT.
He said, “DCP has no control over neither the prices charged by other cement manufacturers nor the prices charged by retailers in the markets.”
“Demand for cement has risen globally as a fallout of the COVID crisis. Nigeria is no exception as a combination of monetary policy changes and low returns from the capital market has resulted in a significant increase in construction activity.
“To ensure that we meet local demand, we had to suspend exports from our recently commissioned export terminals, thereby foregoing dollar earnings. We also had to reactivate our 4.5m ton capacity Gboko plant which was closed 4 years ago and run it at a higher cost all in a bid to guarantee that we meet demand and keep the price of cement within control in the country.”
According to Edwin, despite increase in prices of building materials, Dangote cement has not increased ex-factory prices since December 2019 till date.
The cost of production, he said, has increased by 15 percent over the past 15 months due to dollar-naira valuation, but added that the company only adjusted prices to reflect changes in transport rates.
“We have only adjusted our transport rates to account for higher costs of diesel, spare parts, tyres, and truck replacement. Still, we charge our customers only N300 – 350 per bag for deliveries within a 1,200km radius. We have been responsible enough not to even attempt to cash in on the recent rise in demand to increase prices so far,” he noted.