The price of cement is reaching phenomenal heights, with the construction industry here feeling the pinch with a shortage. Construction work has been delayed and, in some cases, left half done. Last year, the industry suffered from an increase in steel prices as well. Several disgruntled consumers including contractors expressed great dissatisfaction.
Ardi Wijaya, the General Manager of Butra Heidelbergerment Sdn Bhd, the sole producer of cement in Brunei said recently that the price of cement would go up in February due to rising freight charges and higher raw material cost.
"The price increase aims to absorb the rising cost of freight and raw materials in the global market, which will not translate into an increase in profit margin," he said. The company can no longer absorb the rising cost, which forces them to apply to the government for a cement hike. Ardi defended the impending price increase, which he said was the first in eight years. He added there has been a higher rate of cement withdrawal in mid January from a normal 800 tonnes per day to 1,200t.
"We do not have enough raw materials to manufacture cement to meet this demand.
"Therefore, we were forced to introduce a quota system so everyone could have his share of the 825 tonnes per day cement withdrawal," he said.