The Senate has called on the Federal Government to provide more industrial incentives and protection such as offering concessionary loans and larger tax incentives for new entrants into cement production.
This is in order to boost production of cement, reduce price and encourage more valuable producers in Nigeria.
The Senate’s resolution was sequel to a motion on Tuesday at the plenary on “Need for liberalisation of cement policy in Nigeria” sponsored by Sen. Lola Ashiru (APC-Kwara) and co-sponsored by five other senators.
Moving the motion, Ashiru said that cement was one of the few building materials in which Nigeria was self-sufficient.
He said that cement took a large share of domestic expenditure and the price of the commodity significantly impacted the government’s ability to provide much-needed infrastructural works required for the growth of the economy.
“The recent increase in price of cement from N2, 600 to N3, 800 slowed down the amount of construction work being embarked upon thus negatively affecting labour engagement.
“The Nigerian cement market is oligopolistic in nature with three players: Dangote (60.6 per cent), Lafarge Africa PLC (21.8 per cent) and BUA Group (17.6 per cent) largely dominating the scene therefore making it susceptible to price fixing practices.
“If the status quo persists, the negative consequences of high prices on the economy will outweigh the benefits of producing cement locally,” he said.
He said that the significant rise in cement prices in the country and the low purchasing power of Nigerians may result in substandard building construction and non-completion of planned infrastructural works.
Ashiru, therefore, called for an urgent need to encourage more local production of cement to satisfy the demands of Nigeria with a steady growth rate of approximately three per cent per annum.
Out of the three prayers of the motion, only one was adopted by the Senate after a Voice Vote by the President of the Senate Ahmad Lawan.