Retail prices for a quintal of cement have jumped by a third to close to 1,000 Br in recent weeks. The development is fuel to the fire for contractors, who have been in an uproar over the skyrocketing prices for building materials seen over the past few years. They blame intermediaries, convoluted supply chains, and illicit trade practices such as hoarding for the cement price hikes. A quintal of the construction input goes for 450 Br at factories. There are 19 operational cement factories in the country producing some 8.4 million tonnes of cement annually, though demand is estimated at around 11.5 million tonnes. Derba Cement has the largest production capacity of 2.5 million tonnes, followed by Messebo Cement and Dangote, each having the capacity to produce 200,000tn less. Cement retail prices had jumped to similar levels after the federal government decided to set aside its cement market regulatory policy last July. They had fallen to around 700 Br a quintal since. Price jumps for reinforcement bars, aluminium, and glass have also been troubling the slowed construction industry.
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