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Monarch links rising cement prices to non-renewal of import licences

The Ovie of Idjerhe Kingdom in Delta State, His Majesty Monday Obukohwo Whiskey, Udurhie 1, has attributed the spiralling prices of cement in Nigeria to the non-renewal of licences for the importation of the product since 2008, to complement the local production of the commodity.

Consequently, the traditional ruler appealed to President Bola Ahmed Tinubu to urgently renew import licences to the Cement New Entrants Forum of Nigeria as part of measures to bring down the price and make the commodity available to Nigerians.

He made the appeal while conducting journalists round the abandoned multibillion naira Madewell Portland Cement factory located in his kingdom. He lamented the sorry state of the factory after huge investments by an indigene, Prince David Iweta, its president.

The monarch argued that if the importation of cement had been sustained as espoused by previous governments, most members of the Forum would have graduated into local production of cement by now, thus helping the nation in lowering the prices.

Udurhie was particularly worried that as an aftermath of the inconsistent policy of the previous administrations, the company, which provided over 2,000 direct jobs for his subjects and 10,000 indirect jobs for Nigerians when it was established, was now lying fallow.

The monarch recalled that the company was granted licence to import 500,000 metric tonnes between 2008 and 2009 but succeeded in bringing in only 50,000 metric tonnes while 450,000 metric tonnes were left in China at the time the policy was cancelled.

“As a king of this land, I feel pained and I believe that with the coming of President Bola Tinubu, a man who is business oriented, a man who is economically viable, who knows the importance of the cement sector to the Nigerian economy, he will revive this project and others to encourage the investors,” he said.