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Middlemen Influences Cement Price Hike, Scarcity In North East



Middlemen Influences Cement Price Hike, Scarcity In North East

Some residents of the North East have attributed the rise in the price of Cement to the widening gap between the demand and supply of the product.

A survey in Bauchi, Gombe, Borno, Yobe, Adamawa as well as Jigawa, indicated an average of 40 percent increase in price.

Respondents to the survey said several challenges affected production in factories, one of which is the outbreak of COVID-19, thus reducing supply, while demand kept increasing.

Some of the respondents also condemned the activities of middlemen, saying such people capitalized on the development to further worsen the situation.

They called on the government to intervene by checking the unwholesome activities of some dealers and middlemen.

Others however blamed the hike on the high cost of transportation and other sundry activities associated with the business of procurement and sales of Cement in the country.

Malam Ibrahim Sanusi, a Cement Dealer at the Gombe main market described the hike as “ outrageous” when compared with the price of the same commodity the previous year.

Sanusi said in December last year, he bought a bag of Dangote brand for N2,400 and sold it for N2, 500, same with the Ashaka brand.

“Now, we buy Dangote Cement for N4, 000 from their depot in Gombe and sell for N4, 200, while the company price of Ashaka Cement is N3,900, and the retail price is N4, 000,” he said.

On his part, the Chairman of Gombe state chapter of Blocks Molders Association, Alhaji Bello Bose, said the hike in price may be deliberate.

“Since October 2020, there had been a scarcity of Cement in Gombe state, and now, the price has been hiked. This, to me, is deliberate,” he insisted.

He added that many of his members would have left the trade if they had alternatives, and therefore called on the government to intervene.

READ ALSO: Dangote Cement Tops NSE Gainers’ List With Over N130bn Profit

Efforts to secure comment from management of Ashaka Cement Company in Gombe state on the cause of the price hike did not produce results.

In Bauchi, Malam Bako Mohammed, Chairman, Railway Cement Depot, said that low production by manufacturers was responsible for the current high price.

Mohammed told NAN that a bag that was sold for N2,500 last year, is now N3,800.

He said that the low production had led to the non-supply of the product to some retailers who had paid for it months ago.

According to him, the situation has also forced retailers who have little of it from the old stock, to determine the price.

“When we try to ask questions, the manufacturers would say that the Value Added Tax (VAT) being deducted by the government on the products is too high and that is why they are not producing much.

“Before, we used to go to Ashaka cement in Gombe state to procure Cement, but now, even Ashaka is not producing.

“Now, because of the lack of supply, we do go as far as Obajana in Kogi, or Benue state, to buy the product.

“The situation is worrisome; I had paid for my consignment since November last year but up till now, I am yet to receive my Cement,” he lamented.

The chairman also said other circumstances that contributed to the hike in price included the cost of transportation, loading, and off-loading.

Mohammed suggested that government should discuss with manufacturers how to address the problem.

“In the past, the government had done it and the price reduced drastically; the present administration can equally do same,” he said.

Alhaji Abubakar Lawal, a customer, who recalled buying a bag of Cement at the rate of N2,500 last year, said the same now costs N3,700.

Speaking about the cause of the hike in the price, he said he had been told producers were servicing their machines, as such had stopped production.

“For that reason, production decreased while demand is still the way it used to be, or even higher, resulting in the price hike,” he said.

Alhaji Sama’ila Muhammed, a Cement Dealer in Damaturu, also attributed the price hike to the drastic reduction in supply.

“One of the reasons for the hike is that demand for the product is much higher than the supply of the commodity,” he said.

He called for the intervention of the government to close the current gap between demand and supply, just as he argued that an increase in ongoing capital projects nationwide, is another factor.

In his contribution, Alhaji Usman Kasim, a Cement Dealer in Yola, observed that increase in price had to do with activities of middlemen, major Suppliers/Dealers, and some top management staff of Cement companies.

”I think one of the factors responsible for the increase in price, is the activities of middlemen.

”These middlemen are powerful; some of them have a connection with top Management officers of Cement Industries.

”The only thing that will stabilize the price is for the Cement industry owners to check the activities of some of their top management staff,” he advised.

Mr. Sunday Haruna, a member of Adamawa Builders Association, observed that due to the hike in the price of Cement, building activities had reduced drastically.

”Many people visit our Headquarters on daily basis to hire our members.

”Now, we have observed people are no longer coming to patronage our services, as usual, and we believe there is a link with the present high cost of Cement,” Haruna said.

Also, a Maiduguri-based Builder, Ibrahim Khalifa, who called for the intervention of the government, urged the state government to resuscitate the moribund Borno Burnt Bricks factory.

“Many estates in Maiduguri were constructed with bricks some years back.

“Construction with bricks does not require much cement and its structures last longer,” Khalifa said.

In Jigawa, Malam Usman Muhammed, a Cement Dealer for more than two decades, said no one could precisely say what was responsible for the price hike.

He said a bag now costs between N3,650 and N3,700, depending on the brand, as against last year, when the price was N2,700, adding that the development had affected patronage.

Some times ago, we were selling about 4000 bags weekly, but today, we hardly sell 1500 bags per week,” Muhammed said.

He also blamed some dealers for manipulating the price in the market.

Another dealer, Musa Musa, told NAN that his sales had dropped by about 50 percent.

Some customers, mostly private resident developers and operators of block industries in Jigawa, lamented that the price hike had affected their businesses.

Shuaibu Kabiru, a block molder, said he had been forced by circumstances to increase the price of his blocks by 15 percent.

Alhaji Sani Ibrahim, a private residential developer, said he had been delaying his construction project for a very long time, believing the cement price would drop.

On his part, a Builder, Mr. Garba Auwwal, attributed the hike in the price of building materials, including Cement, to the outbreak of COVID-19.

According to him, the COVID-19 pandemic has made many industries trim down the workforce, thereby reducing the number of goods being produced, with a corresponding hike in price.

Auwwal also said the restrictions of movement of goods and services due to the pandemic, affected commodity price.

He suggested the establishment of a body that would regulate the prices of building materials, including cement.

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FCA Fines Bank £5.8Mn Over Counter-Terrorist Financing



FCA Fines Ghana International Bank £5.8Mn Over Counter-Terrorist Financing

The Financial Conduct Authority, FCA has fined Ghana International Bank £5.8 Million over anti-money laundering and counter-terrorist financing.

The FCA disclosed this in a Decision Notice addressed to the Ghana International Bank.

“During the Relevant Period (January 1, 2012, and December 31, 2016), the monetary value of funds flowing between GIB and its respondent banking customers, net of transfers between customers’ own accounts and fixed deposits, totaled £9.5 billion,” the decision read.

READ ALSO: Tinubu’s Pride, Lagos Ranked World’s 2nd Worst Livable City

The Authority has agreed to a 30 percent discount since there was no detection of actual money laundering at the bank but indicated that the breaches created a significant risk that financial crime would be facilitated, occasioned, or otherwise occur.

“Were it not for this discount, the Authority would have imposed a financial penalty of £8,328,500 on GIB. It added.

“This restriction remains in place. GIB continues to work with the FCA and an independent expert to improve its financial crime controls.”

The FCA said the GIB provided correspondent banking services to overseas banks. This allowed the GIB to provide products and services they would not otherwise be able to, including making payments in different currencies and across borders.

The FCA requires banks to do extra checks on their correspondent banking customers to reduce the higher risk of money laundering and terrorist financing associated with the service.

“However, between 1 January 2012 and 31 December 2016, GIB did not adequately perform the additional checks required when it established relationships with the overseas banks and failed to demonstrate it had assessed those banks’ anti-money laundering controls,” the statement said.

“GIB also failed to undertake annual reviews of the information is held on the banks it had a relationship with, failed to give staff adequate training on how to scrutinize transactions properly, and did not establish appropriate policies and procedures for staff”.

In December 2016, the FCA visited GIB to review its financial crime controls.

As a result of concerns identified during this visit, GIB voluntarily agreed not to take on new customers.

“This restriction remains in place. GIB continues to work with the FCA and an independent expert to improve its financial crime controls,” the statement said.

What to know about the Financial Conduct Authority;

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) is a financial regulatory body in the United Kingdom but operates independently of the UK Government.

It is financed by charging fees to members of the financial services industry.

The FCA regulates financial firms providing services to consumers and maintains the integrity of the financial markets in the United Kingdom

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Safe driving: FRSC commissions Dangote truck driving school



Dangote cement, FRSC

…Dangote also trains block makers in Kano, Katsina to prevent building collapse

Leading Cement manufacturer, Dangote Cement Plc, on Wednesday launched the Dangote Articulated Truck Driving School in a move aimed at inculcating safe driving culture in its drivers so as to stem the tide of road crashes.

The opening of the school in partnership with the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC), the Company management reasoned, would also make the drivers become better road users.

The Academy, which was officially commissioned by Corps Marshal of the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC), Dr. Boboye Olayemi Oyeyemi, was characterized as historic and unique. 

The new Academy for truck drivers, according to the Corps Marshal, is a significant step forward that will benefit not only the Dangote Group but Nigeria as a whole. 

The country’s top road safety official hailed Alhaji Aliko Dangote, President and Chief Executive of the Dangote Group, for taking “a big step” towards reducing truck accidents. 

He said: “This is what we’ve been waiting for. You made it. I have observed that Dangote has done a lot to address truck crashes and I must commend them for this.”  

He extolled the conglomerate for leading other companies on this path, saying the new school will play a key part in the country’s efforts to make roads safer. 

He said he had suggested such a school long ago, adding that he is happy that the school has come to fruition.  

In his remarks, the National Director, Logistics of the Dangote Cement (Transport section) Mr. Juan Carlos Rincon, said the new school is an expression of the determination of the company to bring to halt the incidences of auto crash in the country.  

Speaking also Executive Secretary National Board for Technical Education (NBTE) Professor Idris Bugaje who was represented by Engr S.M. Yusuf, said the NBTE will partner with the Dangote Cement Plc for a successful accreditation and takeoff of the new school.  

In his remarks, the Bajana of Obajana HRH Oba Idowu Isenibi said he was optimistic that the school will help address auto crashes in the country, even as he described the President of the Dangote Group Aliko Dangote as a “rescuer and God sent to their communities that should be emulated by other investors in the country.  

Speaking in the same vein, the Olu of Akpata Oba Frederick Balogun urged other investors to emulate the company.  

Both the Dangote Cement Transport and the FRSC signed a Memorandum of Understand (MoU) on how to cooperate to ensure that the school is a success.  

In the same vein, Dangote Cement organized thorough block molding training for block makers in both Kano and Katstina states respectively. This, according to the company is to ensure that the blocks moulded for building constructions are strong, reliable, and durable, noting that some block makers do not really know how to make strong and reliable blocks.

The Coordinator of the programme, Mr. Johnson Olaniyi, said the workshop would give the block molders and allied product manufacturers the opportunity to once again build capacity and adhere to global best practices.   

Mr. Olaniyi said the Dangote Cement Plc is desirous of reversing the trend of collapse building through the capacity building of block manufacturers.     

Meanwhile, government representatives, quality regulators, cement dealers, block makers, and end-users have come to an accord that Africa’s cement giant produces the best quality of cement on the continent. 

The stakeholders who attended the meeting also said the ongoing nationwide workshop and sensitization of block manufacturers will help check the menace of collapsed buildings in the country.   

Speaking at the workshop in Kano, representatives of the Kano State Government Alhaji Muhammad Garba Kwall said that Dangote Cement Plc is not only the biggest company but produces the best quality in Africa.  

He described the company as socially responsible and that’s why it is giving back to society through the sensitization workshop and creating various platforms for educating end users to mitigate the incessant incidences of collapse building in the country.   

Speaking, Regional Director, Kano Directorate, Standard Organization of Nigeria(SON), Mr. Albert Wilberforce urged block molders to patronize the quality cement produced by the Dangote Cement Plc, adding that the SON was partnering with the company and ensuring that only quality cement are produced by the company.   

 In the same vein, The Kano State Coordinator (II) of SON Engr Hauwa M. Husseini urged the block moulders to comply with standard practice in order to prevent the menace of collapse buildings in the country.   

Speaking also, Regional Sales Director for Northwest  Aliyu Dan Aliyu urged participants to be ambassadors by telling their customers about the quality of the cement.  

He said: A customer who wants to build a house, doesn’t know the quality or type of cement to use. It is the responsibility of the builder to advise him on the desired cement to use for quality building.

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Access Bank to reward customers in South-South & South-East regions with millions in the DiamondXtra promo



Diamond extra

Nigeria’s Leading retail financial institution, Access Bank will be rewarding its
customers in the South-South and South -East region with millions of naira and other
attractive consolation prizes in the DiamondXtra regional  draw.

The LIVE draws which have been scheduled to hold on June 29, 2022, in Owerri, Imo
State will feature mouthwatering cash prizes of N1million, Business grant worth
N1million, Rent for a year worth N1million, Educational grant of N500,000, and the star
prize, Salary4life where a lucky customer will earn N100,000 every month for 20 years.

Speaking to newsmen at the Bank’s head office in Lagos recently, Adaeze Ume, Group
Head, Consumer Banking, Access Bank plc, explained that the motivation behind the
regional draws in the new season of the reward scheme is the need to transform the
lives of  More Nigerians  across the country.

In her words, “To deliver on our promise to continually reward our customers for their
loyalty and continued savings with our bank, we have decided to take the DiamondXtra
reward scheme draws even closer to them. We intend to reward 38 lucky customers in
the South-South, South- East region with juicy cash and consolation prizes in the LIVE
draw taking place on the 29th of June 2022 in Owerri, Imo State. By executing LIVE
draws in the regional hubs across the country we believe this will aid consumer
participation, drive credibility of this 14 year old reward scheme and boost our
relationship with our dynamic and loyal retail customer base in the various LGAs and
regions across the nation.

We continue to evolve and reflect on the various offers within the DiamondXtra reward
programme, and engage our customers on what they would prefer to have as a
reward. So this year, we introduced a new reward element to commemorate the launch
of season 14 (tagged READY FOR MORE); in line with the evolving economic climate
that has seen more businesses commence trading and transactions online, we now
offer digital skills training to 14,000 lucky customers as one of our prizes. This skill will
empower them and enable them boost their businesses and operations as
entrepreneurs leveraging the Digital Marketing platforms.  This is our own little way to
help build employers of labour instead of employees of labour.

To join the winning train or to stand a chance to win in the forth coming South South,
South-East regional draw, simply fund your DiamondXtra account with a minimum of
N5,000 or more for an opportunity to win millions and other attractive prizes.
Those who do not have a DiamondXtra account can simply open an account by dialling
9015# from their phones and fund it with a minimum of N5,000 or more to stand a
chance to become a winner”. Ume concluded.

DiamondXtra is an interest yielding hybrid account which allows deposit of both cash
and third-party cheques. Hybrid means a combination of both savings and current
account features. The DiamondXtra reward scheme was launched in 2008 and has
been running till date. Please Click HERE to know more.

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