Call to prevent Bahrain cement price hike
Manama, January 4, 2011
A call has gone out for the Commerce and Industry Ministry to prevent a 30 per cent increase in cement price in Bahrain.
It followed a closed meeting held yesterday between Bahrain Chamber of Commerce and Industry (BCCI) chairman Dr Essam Fakhro and Commerce and Industry Minister Dr Hassan Fakhro.
BCCI acting chief executive officer Khalid Al Murbati said since the ministry had the power to intervene and prevent such an unreasonable increase, it should do so and help contractors.
'This increase is unjustified and we will never agree,' he said.
'However, we want the ministry to take note of this and prevent the increase from happening.'
Al Murbati said that while the increase had been rejected by the BCCI, the future course of action would be decided later.
'We have held meetings among ourselves and discussed several options,' he said.
Prices of cement were raised by 30 per cent collectively on New Year's Day by Bahrain's cement manufactures, who claimed their margins were not enough.
Earlier, Dr Fakhro met senior officials and held urgent talks with representatives of cement companies.
Sources claimed that the cost of an ordinary 50kg bag of cement would be raised by 33 per cent to BD1.600 and that of resistant cement by 32 per cent to BD1.650.
The price of bulk ordinary cement will surge by 30 per cent to BD30 per tonne, and bulk resistant cement by 32 per cent to BD31. The sources said that increases were to prevent a price war between local factories and cement companies.
BCCI board member Khalid Amin said such a huge increase was unjustified.
'Why so much increase, and why now? This is strange since there has been no international increase in the price of raw materials,' he said.
Amin said there would be a sharp increase in other materials and services if the planned increase goes ahead.
'In the end, the consumer will suffer,' he said.
Leading construction company Chapo's general manager Christos Vouzonuis said it was strange the prices had been increased by a third in one go.
'There are not many projects ongoing in Bahrain and there is not a very high demand, so the increase is not justified,' he said.
'The demand is not more than a year ago and certainly much less than 2009. We do not feel this is proper.'-TradeArabia News Service
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