Hardship: Shops closed, jobs lost, as cement price continues to climb up

The seemingly uncontrollable price of cement across the country has virtually affected all spheres of the economy.

WITHIN NIGERIA gathered that from uncomfortable price of N5000 per bag, the price climbed to as high as N12000 per bag.

In any case, when our reporter visited Nsukka building materials to ascertain the level of economic damage inflicted on the citizens by the skyrocketing price of the product, it was learnt that many shops literally gone under.

While some shops were opened with no cement stacked inside as was usually the case, many were under lock and key.

One of the cement distributors Paul Onyema who spoke to our reporter said his shop has been out of stock for the past three weeks.

According to Mr. Onyema, ” in January, when the price started going up, we thought it was the usual slight increase in price.

“However, we were surprised that it is still climbing up till this moment. Even with the agreement with the Federal government, of the cement companies blocked their payment portal and increased the unit price by N400.

” With this recent increase, I don’t think the two giant cement companies will ever agree to sell at N7000 or N8000 as agreed. As I speak with you now, my salesgirl has been relieved of her duty as I couldn’t continue to pay her when I don’t have any supply since January.”

By and large, the collateral damage caused by the skyrocketing price of cement is better imagined than mentioned

At sand mine in Ugbene-Ajima, Uzo-Uwani local government area of Enugu state, only two tippers were seen loading sand.

One of the drivers who spoke to our reporter lamented the situation, describing it as an unfortunate.

” Before now, we usually have like six to ten tippers, lined up, waiting for their turn to get sand. But today, as you can see, only two tippers are here. I only have this trip and no more.”

Explaining further, the driver who spoke under anonymity told WITHIN NIGERIA that ” I tell you before now, I usually reject work because I had enough demand from my customers.

“Today, the story has changed. For the past two weeks, I have not had up to five supplies. I have started calling my calling customers to know if they can give me demand but they kept on asking me if I am seeing what is happening in Nigeria. That a bag of cement is sold at N10,000. For that reason, they have suspended their building projects for the moment pending when things get better

In any case the story is still the same when our reporter visited Jobbers’ arena popularly known as Ogbommanu, many labourers, bricklayers and other allied workers were seen looking desperate for work.

One of the bricklayers who spoke to WITHIN NIGERIA narrated that he has not gotten job for the past two weeks.

“Normally, I am not used to coming out here to look for job. But the situation has changed for worse. I have five rooms bungalow where I am the chief bricklayer there. We are yet to reach to linter level but the owner of the building called me to say that he is calling off the project for the reason that the price of cement has gone beyond reach. Since then, even the other works I had, has been suspended because of high cost of cement.”

At timber market, Nsukka, the story is still the same. When our reporter visited the area, many traders were seen sleeping while others were busy whiling away their time

One of the dealers, Chijioke Onyishi who spoke to WITHIN NIGERIA lamented the situation, stressing that he has not witnessed such ugly trend since twenty years of his stay in the business.

“I have been in this business since 2004. I want to say it that I have not witnessed this kind of ugly trend ever since I started this business. Even during COVID-19, we didn’t witness this high cost of things and dullness of business.”

Lamenting further, Onyishi stated that, ” the high cost of cement has literally crippled our business. Many building projects that would have been completed have been stopped. How can you expect somebody to buy a bag of cement at N13000? How many bags will the person buy at that price. It is indeed unbearable.”

Appealing to the government, he stressed that ” government should continue to renegotiate with the manufacturers to see how they can bring the price down so that we continue with our business

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