The West African Portland Cement Company PLC has called on the Federal government to declare a state of emergency on the cement industry, according to local press reports. Recently the federal government endorsed the importation of bulk cement into the country in order to bridge the supply deficit estimated at 11.5Mt in the demand for the product.
The decision of the government was followed by a sharp increase in the price of cement by almost 80 per cent, with a bag going for N2300 as against N1500 before the decision of the government was announced.
Speaking at the company’s quarterly media briefing, chairman, Lafarge WAPCO Plc, chief Bayo Akinola stated that while the company is not against the decision of the government, it believes that the decision is a short-term view to the problem in the cement industry.
Government, he noted, needs to take a long-term view to addressing the problem in the industry. He said that government needs to consider the cement industry as a strategic sector because it is critical to the provision of shelter, which is one of the three basic human needs.
This he said qualifies the sector for a state of emergency like the power sector. “If the government is declaring a state of emergency in the power sector, I don’t see anything wrong in the doing the same for the cement sector.”