Cement price in domestic market hiked abruptly

Kathmandu, December 27

Amid increasing demand and the recent hassles that the country has been facing in the import of clinker — a major ingredient for cement production — cement manufacturers and retailers in the domestic market have abruptly increased the price of the construction material.

As per a survey carried out by The Himalayan Times in areas like Chabahil, Kalopul, Gausala and Maitidevi, the price of both Ordinary Portland Cement (OPC) and Portland Pozzolana Cement (PPC) has increased by Rs 100 per sack over the past one week. While the price of OPC cement of different brands has been increased by an average of Rs 100 to be priced at Rs 950 per sack, a sack of PPC cement today costs almost Rs 800, though the same quality cement used to cost Rs 700 per sack a week back.

“Cement price has become dearer in the wholesale market. With increased wholesale rate of cement, we are obliged to increase the cement price in the retail market,” said Rajkumar Dangal, a cement retailer based in Chabahil.

Shree Krishna Rijal, president of the Construction Materials Dealers Association, said that cement price has been regularly increasing in recent days. “Factories and wholesalers have been increasing the price of the construction materials citing increased transportation cost, among various other reasons,” he said.

According to him, not only cement but the price of every other construction material like bricks, rods and aggregates, among others, has been increasing over the past few weeks.

Past records show that manufacturers and distributors of construction materials in the country often increase the price of construction materials in the winter season when construction works across the country is at a peak and the demand for construction materials is higher.

However, cement manufacturers have said that the price of cement has not been increased formally so far. “We have not formally hiked the price of cement. However, its price might have been fluctuating following mismatch between supply and demand of the product in the market,” said Dhurba Thapa, president of Cement Manufacturers’ Association of Nepal (CMAN).

As per Thapa, the domestic market has been facing hassles in importing clinker from India in recent days, which have affected cement production in the domestic factories that do not have their own clinker plants and rely on clinker imported from India.

“If the government does not address this issue on time, a number of cement factories will have to stop production due to the unavailability of clinker,” he stated.

According to Thapa, of the total 50 cement plants operating in the country, 37 do not have their own clinker plants.

On the other side, the government seems to have done nothing to inspect the market and control arbitrary hike in the price of construction materials. Though two separate teams from the Department of Supplies Management and Protection of Consumers Interest have been inspecting the market constantly, the government inspectors seem to have missed the ongoing anomalies in the country’s construction industry.