Cement price upped in the dark, Fiji

Cement price upped in the dark, Fiji
Published: 31 January 2007

The Commerce Commission’s approval of a 3 per cent increase in the price of bagged and bulk cement in December has left consumers in dark, says the Consumer Council of Fiji.

The council s chief executive officer Premila Kumar said the commission s approval had seen the price of bagged cement increase from $198/t to $203.94 at the ex-factory wholesale price per tonne.

VAT exclusive and bulk cement is selling from $180 to $185.40 per tonne. This determination expires on the 21st of June 2009 unless the determination is varied or earlier revoked, said Ms Kumar.

She said the council failed to understand why the Commission did not publicise the determination in the media for consumers information.

The Council itself became aware of the increase after visiting the Commerce Commission s website. The council believes that the Commission should make all their determinations public not only through their website but in the newspapers and radio stations to better inform all consumers, said Ms Kumar.

She said consumers had a right to information and by not publicising such important determinations that had price increases approved, the commission was breaching this right of consumers.

Ms Kumar said the Commission should explain to consumers why the three per cent increase was approved through a media statement so that customers understood the reasons behind the increase.

The Commerce Commission said after careful consideration of an application made by Fiji Industries Ltd, it decided to authorise a 3 per cent increase on ex-factory prices for general blended and general Portland cement.

The Commission said the increase was implemented on December 22 last year.

It said Fiji industries Ltd being the only producer of cement, did inform distributing companies such as Vinod Patel Ltd, Suncourt Hardware and others to inform their customers. The commission said it carried out investigations before approving the increase.

We looked at their applications and carried out investigations and then decided that there was a need for an increase for locally produced and supplied cement for domestic market.