The online publication had reported that “a Twitter user identified as @drpenking called out Dangote for selling his bag of cement for N5,200 in Nigeria despite the fact that the raw material is sourced locally in Nigeria.
“He (@drpenking) tweeted: ‘Dangote cement is produced in Nigeria. The raw material is sourced locally in Nigeria at almost zero cost. Nothing is imported. Almost zero taxes yet the price of cement is N5,200 in Nigeria and same is sold in Seme, Benin Republic at N1,500 . Sit & Explain to me (sic).'”
However, a Cotonou-based Chief Executive Officer of Marketing Challenge Agency (MCA), Mr. Dia Ibrahim Kola, told THISDAY in Cotonou last Friday that the government of the Republic of Benin was striving to maintain stable price of cement in the country through price regulation regime instead of subsidising its supply.
Kola said: “There is only one price for cement in the country. This is 78,000 Cefa per tonne of cement. But the retail prices of 50kg bag of cement vary from 4,000 Cefa, 4,100 Cefa and 4,200 Cefa. But the price is higher in Parakou in the northern part of the country” where it oscillates between 88,000 Cefa and 90,000 Cefa per tonne.”
He said the country’s policy was to discourage importation of cement and encourage its local production with high import duty and taxes for cements that does not qualify under the ECOWAS Trade Liberalisation Schem (ETLS).
“We have about four cement manufacturers, including Lafarge and others. The government has a fixed price and often sent taskforce to monitor compliance especially in Cotonou.
“But it is important to emphasise that government does not subsidise the price of cement in Benin. There was a period of high scarcity that the price went up to CFA 100,000 per tonne, which forced the government to intervene to stabilise the market,” he said.
Kola recalled that the only time he had seen Dangote Cement being sold in the country was four years ago by a Nigerian woman around Igolo, that is close to the Nigerian border, adding that she might have smuggled it in.
However, the management of Dangote Cement Plc has clarified that the price of a bag of cement from its factories across Nigeria as at August 28, 2023, was N4,010 (about 2,730 Cefa) in Okpella and N4,640 (about 3,135 Cefa) in Ibese, Objana, and Gboko.
It added that transportation costs and the location of delivery, might cause the prices to hover between N5,000 and N5,300 per bag 50kg.
This clarification was made in view of recent misinformation that the company sells cement in Nigeria at significantly higher prices relative to other countries, particularly the Republic of Benin, and other neighbouring countries.
Dangote Cement’s Group Managing Director, Mr. Arvind Pathak, advised that it was important to distinguish Dangote Cement’s ex-factory prices from prices at which retailers sell cement in the market.
Pathak said Dangote Cement was focused on delivering quality cement at the best price possible, despite the current inflationary environment.
“We continue to innovate new ways to deliver quality products to millions of our customers across Africa, while providing top-notch customer services. At Dangote Cement, we are committed to building an inclusive and sustainable business for all stakeholders across the value chain,” he said.