Ministry warns cement merchants against soaring price

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By Yared Nigussie

In a bid to protect consumers from the ever-increasing price of cement, the Ministry of Trade and Regional Integration (MoTRI) is considering to take measures against traders, who are selling cement at a much exaggerated price.

In recent months, the price of cement was 1,300 Birr a quintal. Now there’s a shortage of the product in the market, and its price has been soared to 1,500 Birr a quintal.

“We’ll take both legal and administrative measures against those traders, who are selling the product in a highly inflated price,” Kumneger Ewnetu, Communications Director of MoTRI told Origins Business.

“Merchants, who are selling a quintal of cement at 1,500 Birr, are moving against the price set by factories,” she said.

“MoTRI has not passed any directive, which orders trading of cement at a much exaggerated price of 1,500 Birr,” Kumneger said, adding, “We don’t even pass a directive to permit such a price increment.”

MoTRI is assessing the current price of cement in different areas.

“We are investigating the price that is being traded by merchants around Megenagna. The merchants there told us that they received the product from Mugher Cement Factory,” she explained.

The price surge comes after MoTRI ordered cement factories to exclude agents from the market network and sell the product directly to governmental entities and institutional buyers.

Some preconditions have left to take actions against the merchants, who are selling cement in a highly inflated price.

 “We’re left with knowing the final price of cement at some factories that we told them previously their price is exaggerated,” Kumneger said.

There are also some regional cities that are not yet received an approved final price of cement from the Ministry.

Cement prices set specific prices for destinations considering transport and warehousing costs. Current price for a quintal of cement at factories is 620 Birr, according to Kumneger.

 “We are even broadcasting advertisements about the situation on EBC and Fana TV,” Kumneger said.

Currently, cement demand in Ethiopia is estimated to be around 7 to 8 metric tons in a year with annual cement production at 5.4 metric tons.

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