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Dangote’s 50kg Cement Costs Between N4,000 To N4,600, While Cement Sells At An Average Price Of N6,216 In Benin Despite Government’s Regulation



The allegation that went viral on social media last week that Dangote Cement Plc was selling a bag of 50kg cement to Nigerians at an exploitative rate of N5,200 while it sells the same quantity of cement at N1,500 in the Republic of Benin was not true.

According to Thisday’s investigation in Cotonou at the weekend, it’s revealed that Dangote Cement was not on sale in Cotonou or anywhere in the Republic of Benin. While Dangote does not officially export cement to Benin Republic, it only uses the country as its transit route to export cement to Togo.

It was discovered that the average price of 50kg (32.5r) bag of cement in Benin Republic was N6,216, which was about 4,200 Cefa).

Further investigation in cement depots in Akpakpa, Ghandi and Etoile Rouse (Red Star) sections in Cotonou, shows that the price of 50kg bag of cement goes for 4,000 Cefa, 4,100 Cefa and 4,200 Cefa at different cement depots in Cotonou.

In addition, Thisday was told that the same quantity of cement goes for 4,500 Cefa (about N6,660) in Parakou, which was the largest city in northern Benin because of transport and logistics costs.

This implied that the average prices of 50kg bag of cement in Cotonuo and Parakou were N6,068, and N6,660 respectively, at the parallel market exchange rate of 1.00 Cefa to N1.48.

The two strongest determinants of the price of cement in the Republic of Benin were the fixing of cement’s price by the country’s government to ensure stability and the imposition of about 51 percent duty and other taxes on imported cement to discourage importation of the commodity and encourage local production of cement.

Among the leading cement brands in Cotonou are Cimbenin Buffle, Ciment Bouclier, Nouvelle Cimenterie du Benin and the Ciment Diamant, which a manufactured in the country. These are mainly 32.5R grade in contrast to Dangote Cement’s 42.5R cement grade that is on sale in Nigeria.

An online publication had published a story on August 27, 2023, in which it had stated that, “Nigerians have taken to social media to call out billionaire Aliko Dangote for selling his bag of cement for N5,200 in his own country but selling at N1,500 in Benin Republic.”

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, in Cotonou last Friday said 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.


Italian Bags 24 Years Jail Term For Beating Physically Challenged Nigerian To Death



Filippo Ferlazzo, the Italian who beat Italy-based Nigerian man Alika Ogorchukwu to death in July 2022, has been sentenced to 24 years in prison.

The 39-year-old Nigerian who was beaten to death in the Italian city of Civitanova Marche in the Marche Region in the Province of Macerata has finally received justice.

Abike Dabiri-Erewa, Chairman of the Nigerians in Diaspora Commission (NIDCOM), made the announcement in a statement signed by NIDCOM spokesperson Gabriel Odu on Thursday.

Dabiri-Erewa who expressed satisfaction over the justice meted out to Ferlazzo commended the Nigerian Mission in Rome for following through with the case and other cases involving Nigerians.

“I am glad that this case finally got justice. Like I always say, there has to be consequences for actions”.

The NIDCOM boss also urged Nigerians in the diaspora to remain law-abiding, excel in what they do, and never forget home by giving back to their homeland.

She also exhorted Nigerians living abroad to uphold the law, be the best at what they do, and never forget their roots by supporting their home country.

According to the Italian police, Ogorchukwu was assaulted while strolling in broad daylight, after the Nigerian asked Ferlazzo’s fiancée to buy him a handkerchief.

With the use of Ogorchukwu’s crutches, the attacker battered the victim to death in front of multiple witnesses, some of whom made videos on their smartphones.

On July 30, 2022, Ferlazzo was detained and arrested on charges of having murdered Ogorchukwu and having stolen Ogorchukwu’s phone.

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Lagos Government Implements Total Ban On Street Trading, Hawking To Improve Safety And Sanitation



In a bid to create a cleaner, safer, and healthier environment, the Lagos State government, under the auspices of the Ministry of Environment and Water Resources, has implemented a comprehensive ban on street trading, hawking, and related illegal activities.

This landmark decision aims to address the rising concerns over public safety, traffic congestion, and the preservation of vital infrastructure.

Led by the dynamic Commissioner for Environment, Mr. Tokunbo Wahab, the state government has assigned the Lagos State Environmental Sanitation Corps (commonly known as KAI) with the responsibility of ensuring strict compliance with the newly enforced environmental sanitation laws.

One of the primary reasons driving this ban is the need to curb the nefarious activities of hawkers who have increasingly resorted to disguising themselves as vendors while preying on unsuspecting motorists. These incidents of theft and robbery have not only threatened the safety of commuters but have also contributed to the disruption of traffic flow on major highways and streets.

Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu’s administration, with its T.H.E.M.E Plus Agenda, is exhibiting a zero-tolerance approach towards street trading, hawking, and other illicit practices. By intensifying efforts to enforce these regulations, the government aims to foster a more conducive and orderly business environment while addressing the concerns of the general public.

The ban extends to the construction of illegal structures on drainage systems, as they pose significant risks to the local water management infrastructure. Additionally, the prohibition encompasses the display of wares on walkways, a practice that not only obstructs pedestrian movement but also contributes to unsightly and cluttered public spaces.

Citizens and traders are urged to cooperate fully with the Lagos State Environmental Sanitation Corps, adhering to the newly implemented regulations in order to promote a more organized and hygienic society. The government’s commitment to ensuring the health and safety of its residents remains resolute, and these measures signify a significant step towards achieving that goal.

As the Lagos State government takes proactive steps towards creating a cleaner, safer, and more sustainable urban environment, the hope is that this ban will not only elevate the quality of life for all residents but also serve as a model for other regions to follow suit.

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Marketers Urge Federal Government To Address Rising Gas Prices



The Nigerian Association of Liquefied Petroleum Gas Marketers (NALPGAM) has urged the Federal Government to develop measures to keep gas prices stable and make it available to ordinary Nigerians.

The NALPGAM National President, Abideen Olatunbosun, made this plea during the association’s 36th annual general meeting/conference on Tuesday in Ibadan, Oyo State, with the theme “Expanding gas utilisation beyond imagination.”

He added that if nothing was done to stop the price growth, petrol will soon become a commodity for the few wealthy.

Olatunbosun said, “It is very vital for me to say that the galloping hike in the price of gas in recent times stands as a big challenge to LPG marketers. The government need to find ways to ensure the stability of gas price as well as make gas available to the common Nigerians. If nothing is done to the increase in price, gas will soon be a commodity for the few rich in our society.”

“As a country, we need to improve on our gas utilisation level. If we adopt gas, it will save our forest, improve quality of our lifestyle and the economy will grow. The hike in price of gas is a concern to all.”

In his lecture, the Guest Speaker, Prof Sunday Isehunwa of the Department of Petroluem Engineering, Faculty of Technology, University of Ibadan, identified changes in demand, changes in supply, natural gas production and consumption, changes in price and electricity pricing as some challenges facing LPG market in the country.

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