Saturday, July 13, 2024

Stiff cement prices dries out builders’ pockets


Contractors and builders shed light on heavy concerns which has forced them to access cement at twice its rate, with the doubling price not even being accounted for by a receipt. As the matter keeps on loosing grip, they have requested government to intervene.
Contractors who are involved in different sized projects explained that they are engaged on building the backbone of the economy yet they face the hurdle of accessing cement as per the required market rate.
“We are forced to access the resource with double rate from distributors,” they explained their claim to Capital.
“As per the current status, we are forced to pay about 520 birr per quintal with receipt but there is also an additional similar payment without legal receipt to secure the product,” contractors and builders alike said, adding, “in total we are paying about 1,100 per quintal which has become difficult for us to give narrations or audits of our actual cost because half of the payment does not have legal document.”
Currently, the legal price of cement is about 500 per quintal as per the rate that the government disclosed but actually at the market the price is double. Some middlemen that Capital communicated with affirmed that that is true. The middlemen further explained that the factories do sell at the standard rates; however, there lie individuals who have cracked the code. Staff who have links with the marketing and distribution have twisted the access for their benefit, hacking the system and as a result have reaped the benefits of selling twice the original amount.
A builder who currently has different ongoing projects said that since there is no alternative, he has been forced to buy the product by over a thousand birr, “if we tried to argued with the distributors to sale the product as per the expected price we will not get the product at all. Thus we are forced to pay the amount that distributers demand,” he said, adding, “Otherwise our projects will be halted.”
Builders and contractors asked the government to change the scheme at least for the short term, if controlling the market has proven hard in the long haul.
“We demand the government to facilitate direct access for projects as per its actual demand,” they claimed.
“We don’t want to get cement over our actual demand due to that the government shall evaluate project statuses and the actual cement they need to run their activities, and as per the evaluation it should create conditions for projects to access the cement from factories,” they said.
“Or it should consider their costs which they pay for distributers to get the product,” they added.
Meanwhile, the government disclosed that it has taken several measures regarding cement distribution and the retail market the price. However things on ground seem different.
Despite the production being stated to be lesser than the market demand, experts who follow the sector claimed that the product is available in the market but the price is highly inflated.
Experts argued that the so called distributors are the major reason for the market cruelty, “it should not be difficult for the government to control such illegal acts.”
“We are undertaking projects that are vital for the country and the economy to which the government should directly support, otherwise on this trend project costs are extravagated that directly have effect on the economy,” they added.
Mid this week, Oromia region disclosed that to curb the cement price hike in the market and to cut the illegal market chain it has organized 300 distribution associations which have duly started their activity.

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