Distributors and developers have accused the management of Dangote Cement Plc of silently increasing the price of its product to N1,745 per a 50kg bag instead of the N1,000 that it announced early last month.
Although the firm did not formally announce any increase in price, our correspondent gathered that it sent out text messages to its distributors on Monday, December 15, 2014, informing them of the new price.
The official spokesperson of the Dangote Group, Mr. Tony Chiejina, said he could not comment on the issue because he was indisposed, correspondents gathered from other officials of the company that some variables in the economy had made it impossible to sell the product at the previously announced prices.
According to the officials, the recent devaluation of the naira by the Central Bank of Nigeria and the company’s inability to get gas to fire its plants have raised the cost of producing cement, adding that there was no way the company would bear the excess cost alone.
They explained that the announcement made by the firm some months back that it was shifting to coal as an alternative energy source had not fully materialised, hence the anticipated price reduction had not happened.
However, an angry distributor, who spoke with our correspondent on the condition of anonymity, said though the firm had previously announced the crash of the 32.5 cement grade to N1,000 per bag, and the higher 42.5 grade to N1,150 from N1,700 irrespective of the grade, the distributors never got it at the announced prices.
The distributor called on the firm to also announce the latest increase, adding that the former announcement of a crash in price was “highly counter-productive to the marketers.”
The distributor said, “When the company reduced the price to N1,000, they were very quick to go to the press to announce it even though they were not even selling at N1,000 to we the distributors. They were selling it at N1,150. But as of yesterday (Monday), they had increased it to N1,745 for the distributors.
“Why can’t they go back to the press to announce the increase? They have already saturated the market with the announcement that the price of cement is N1,000. People now quarrel with us that the price is now N1,000 and this is highly counter-productive to marketers and has affected our businesses negatively.”
A text message allegedly sent by the company to the distributors, which was forwarded to our correspondent, reads, “Dear customer, kindly note these changes in price: Ibese (delivered) – N1,745. Ibese (self-collected) – N1,645 (five trucks and above); N1,655 (below five trucks). Isolo – N1,700 (five trucks and above); N1,710 (below five trucks). The changes are effective today, December 15, 2014. Thanks for your patronage.”
The text was allegedly sent by one “Bukky, Dangote Cement.”
On November 3, 2014, it was widely reported that Dangote had slashed the price of cement by 41 per cent.
The Group Managing Director, Dangote Cement, Mr. Devakumar Edwin, had announced the price cut in a statement issued by the firm.
This item originally appeared on Punch news