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Anger as BUA Betrays Customers, Increases Price of Cement

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By Modupe Gbadeyanka

Customers and distributors of BUA Cement Plc have expressed their anger over what they described as a betrayal of trust on the part of the cement maker.

Their anger was triggered after the management of BUA Cement reportedly unveiled the new ex-factory price of its cement product over the weekend.

The firm increased the price of the product by N200 per bag, pushing the value higher to N3,000 per bag from N2,800 per bag despite weeks of promise not to increase the price.

Recall that a few months ago, when it was reported that the company was planning to increase the price of cement, BUA had claimed that there was no justification to increase the price of cement as it is currently making enough returns.

BUA Cement, in various statements issued between April and June this year, had refuted any claims of an increase in the ex-factory price of its cement products by N300 per bag, stating that, “the company had no plans to increase prices of its cement now or in the near future.”

According to a statement issued on April 24, 2021, the company stated that, “the solution was not in an increase of ex-factory price at this period.”

The company, in its statement, had “reiterated its stand that the timing was not right for any increase in the price of major commodities, especially not at this period whilst Nigerians are still trying to recover from the economic consequences brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic – especially for a product for which all raw materials are locally sourced.”

On June 17, 2021, BUA Cement had issued a fresh statement titled ‘No Further Increase in the Price of BUA Cement’ in response to numerous clarification requests from its distributors and the public that the company does not seek to increase the ex-factory price of its cement in the foreseeable future.

“We are aware of the feedback and outcry from the public, and the government on the high retail price of cement in a period of economic recovery.

“BUA is also of the firm belief that the current retail prices of cement are higher than normal, hence our earlier communication not to increase ex-factory prices in the foreseeable future.

“As a responsible corporate entity, we refuse and reject associations with any actions that are deemed capable of projecting any industry we operate as a cartel. Hence, whilst we respect that the said company has decided to increase their prices, we are not questioning the reason(s) why, but would like to make clear BUA’s position on a price increase.

“The timing is not right for any increase on BUA’s part, and we do not have any justifiable business reason to increase our prices (ex-factory) anytime soon. We, therefore, urge our distributors not to panic as well as not engage in any arbitrary hike in the retail price of BUA Cement,” the statement read.

But the increase in the company’s ex-factory price of cement over the weekend is generating ripples among distributors, retailers and consumers across the country, with many wondering at the sudden change of mind of the manufacturer and this volte-face dishonesty.

In a market survey carried out on the price increase, a cement distributor in Kano, Mr Sadiq, wondered why BUA Cement changed its cement price, contrary to expectations and its promise.

“I don’t understand why BUA did this increase at this particular time. The chairman of BUA, Abdulsamad Rabiu, personally promised us that his company will not increase the price of its cement.

“Honestly, this is not good for our business and the industry. This is the biggest scam by any major corporate organisation in the history of this country,” he lamented.

Another cement distributor based in Asaba, Delta State, Mr Sunday Odogwu, expressed anger at the price increase by BUA Cement, despite all his repeated promises of no further increase in the price of BUA cement.

According to Mr Odogwu, “BUA told us several times before in their statements to distributors that they are not ready to increase their cement price.

“The last notice was just last month in June. Why are they doing this now? It is so not fair, and we are disappointed. Our customers will not understand all this and will be blaming us!”

“This shows total disregard and non-adherence to international corporate governance rules and standards. More importantly, his action shows a total disregard and disrespect for his customers, who over the years from their loyalty and patronage of his cement have in no small measure contributed to his business success.

“Initially, we believed the management of BUA as having sympathy for the populace. But this current position is not only deceptive but also portrays the organisation as having a hidden agenda in order to smear competition and gain an unfair market advantage over others in the industry,” he added.

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