Nigerians have begun to call on Nigeria’s Ministry of Mines and Steel Development to wake up to its responsibility of proper regulation of the solid mineral sector against irregular price hike by Chinese firms under the ministry’s purview in the nation’s capital city of Abuja.
Several citizens who, have taken to social media to make their grievances public, revealed some of the irregular practices carried out by these Chinese construction firms.
It was revealed that some Chinese firms have raised the price of aggregates and stone dust to N3500 from N2800 without any particular or justified reason. As a matter of established facts, Zeberced, a Turkish company still sells at N2,800 while their Chinese counterpart moved price to N3,500 which amounts to about 25% hike.
Also pointed out is another anomaly where the chairman of the Quarry Owners Association in Nigeria is of Chinese extract, who also used his influence to push for the increase and may be looking to go as far as increasing prices to N4000/ton.
“For a government that has talked up the need for housing development, how do you justify this Chinese impunity and games with an essential commodity for building and construction? These are aggregates mined in Nigeria, why are the Chinese allowed to decide prices at will and also be empowered to force the hands of other players? We recently saw news of some Chinese men looking to bribe EFCC officials with N50m in order to milk Zamfara of billions of Naira, I hope we aren’t dealing with this sort of situation as the ministry looks on while the Chinese run their game”, said Japheth Omojuwa, an author and good governance advocate.
Some other Nigerians also joined Mr. Omojuwa in his calls for the Ministry of Solid Minerals to wake up to its responsibilities as the regulator of that industry and protect the interests of the nation from marauding foreign interests.
Mr Isa Ozo, a resident of Abuja also described the price hike as exploitation. He said; “For me, that’s just exploitation. You take our resources and then resell to us at an exorbitant rate. Truly, we should have Nigeria’s Ministry of Mines and Steel Development do something about that. Haba! 25% increase when they are supposed to look at ways to ease the hardship caused by COVID-19”.
Other social media users have have been weighing in on the matter and tagging the minister to address the issue but neither minister nor the ministry’s official page has released any official comment yet.
These questions surrounding the sudden increase remain unanswered. Hopes are that the ministry in charge will look into the matter and address the issues raised by Nigerian citizens against Chinese industrial encroachment and impunity.