Some five Cement manufacturers on Monday, July 1, boycotted a scheduled meeting with the Minister of Trade and Industry, K.T. Hammond over discussions on a proposed Legislative Instrument (LI) to regulate cement prices.

Dangote, Supacem, Ghacem, Diamond Cement, and CIMAF were the manufacturers purported to have declined to attend the meeting, citing the need for closed-door meetings.

This comes at a time when manufacturers have strongly opposed the LI’s efforts to regulate cement prices.

However, at a press conference, the Minister of Trade and Industry, K.T. Hammond, said he remains unfazed about laying the LI on Tuesday, July 2, in parliament.

“This was not supposed to be a press conference. It was supposed to be a meeting with the cement manufacturers. You will recall that in the last few days, I didn’t quite lay a document, but I have given an indication of my intention to lay an LI, which will relate to the pricing of cement in the country.

“I am not sure, but I suspect that in my absence, the majority leader may have sent it out. I haven’t been able to ascertain what exactly happened, but somehow it has gone all over the country that we are trying to lay an LI…I am going to do it; we didn’t do it on this occasion.

“The story out there is that the NDC prevented us; that is not true…I just gave a copy to my leader, the majority leader, concerning what I had in mind. But since that time, there have been so many complaints that I hadn’t consulted with the stakeholders before trying to lay the LI as they claim. I have refuted that on the various platforms.

“Consultation with these players has continuously been taking place. On a specific occasion, when I inaugurated a committee that was going to be responsible for this price regulation, I charged the manufacturers and their respective associations to be mindful of pricing cement in the country. We’ve asked them to publish the expatriate prices for us to have an idea into how much they are going to sell a bag of cement,” he stated.