The prices of cement, one of the major building materials, and indeed the prime building materials resources, as fondly acclaimed by some stakeholders in the built environment, have crashed again in the market.
The Tide has reliably gathered that cement prices which went up as high as between N2,500 and N2,200 within the last quarter of 2011 have now come down to between N1,750 and N1,800 as at the end of January 2012.
A visit by our reporter to some cement depots has confirmed the reduction in the prices of the product, contrary to the fears of some stakeholders in the building industry concerning a possible rise within the first quarter of year 2012, because of the increase in demand on the product that was envisaged due to expected increase of building activities associated with the dry season.
Speaking when The Tide visited his depot, a building materials merchant, Mr. Livingston Eze, stated that the matter is quite different this year, unlike what obtained in previous years where prices of cement went up early in the year.
He said that he sold a 50Kg bag of cement between N2,200 and N2,400 in November and December last year but has now price crashed to N1,800.
He attributed the fall in price to dull business activities in the new year particularly in the building industry which he said was occasioned by the Petroleum subsidy matter, as some people had decided to suspend their intentions on building activities.
As for Joseph Ekanem, who is also a dealer in the building materials, the reduction in the prices of cement this period, could not be easily explained along one or two directions.
He maintained that several factors have contributed to the matter, pointing out that many cement factories that were not in production between the middle and end of last year have now bounced back, which has created competition and much supply of the product.
It would be recalled that the Federal Government, mid last year, set up an economic team, with a serious mandate to crash the prices of cement which almost hit the roof in May 2011.