Minority rejects govt’s call to halt cement price hikes

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The Minority in Parliament has dismissed the government’s directive to halt the increase in the prices of cement, calling it an unrealistic and unlawful move.

This comes after the Minister for Trade and Industry, K.T. Hammond, instructed cement manufacturers to halt price increases and publish their retail prices to curb arbitrary price hikes.

The Minority argues that this approach is misguided and will not yield the desired results.

In a media engagement, the Ranking Member on the Trade and Industry Committee of Parliament, Yusif Sulemana, argued that the government’s directive to cement manufacturers to stop arbitrary price increases is not feasible without addressing the root causes of the problem.

Mr. Sulemana pointed out that cement manufacturers are already burdened with levies, including a fumigation levy, despite not receiving the corresponding service.

He emphasised that the government should engage with manufacturers to identify areas where taxes can be reduced, and stimulus packages can be offered to support their business.

“As we speak to you, cement manufacturers pay a levy on fumigation, fumigation levy but when their goods arrive, nobody fumigates it’s they pay for a service they do not benefit. And then you come to tell me to reduce the prices of my commodity,

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“I’ve never seen it anywhere. This is a competitive market, engage them and see where there’s a need that you the government can reduce some taxes. Where there’s a need for you to do certain things that will stimulate their business.”

“You don’t sit in your office and issue a directive saying that they should reduce their prices. I can tell you on authority that this is not going anywhere. What law is he referring to? Is there any law that says a minister can sit in his office and issue a letter that reduces the prices of commodities?

“It is only under this government we are seeing this. What we need to do is to sit with them and identify the root cause.”

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