The Cement New Entrant Forum of Nigeria on Sunday in Abuja called on the Federal Government to reduce the 35 per cent import duty on cement to five per cent. The call was contained in a statement signed by David Iweta, chairman of the forum, a copy of which was made available to the press.
“Mr President kindly consider the reversal of the imposed 35 per cent duty on an already expensive essential commodity, to five per cent,’’ the statement said. It claimed that the high import duty was masterminded by some local cement manufacturers to enable them sell their commodity as high as NGN1700/bag. According to the statement, government should not allow itself to be deceived by the manufacturers’ claim that the drop in price of cement from NGN2700 to between NGN1900 and NGN2200 was temporary.
The statement said the drop in price could not be sustained “without deliberate decision of Mr President to release pending licences” for the importation of cement. It said that in spite of the expiration of the 30 days ultimatum given by the Federal Government to the five top most cement manufacturers to bring down the price of the commodity, the cost had remained high.