The Trade department will decide this week whether cement price controls are needed after observing cases of profiteering, Secretary Peter B Favila yesterday said.
Cement manufacturers, meanwhile, bucked the plan to impose caps, saying their cooperation with the government should be enough to prevent retailers from unreasonably jacking up prices. "By Friday, I’ll be able to make a decision on [whether to recommend] price control," Mr. Favila said in a telephone interview.
"Retailers claim they acquired the cement at so much. They have up to January 7 to show evidence," Mr. Favila said. The department warned on Monday that it might resort to dictating prices after market visits found 150 retailers selling cement way beyond the suggested retail price of P205 per 40kg bag. It said sellers may be taking advantage of consumers who need to repair storm-damaged homes.
Under the Price Act (Republic Act 7581), the President -- upon the Trade secretary’s recommendation – may impose a price ceiling on cement if there is, among others, "prevalence or widespread acts of illegal price manipulation".