By Timi Alaibe
At a time when every news sends frightening shivers down the spines of Nigerians, one good news does not seem like a big deal. But this one was; in many respects. Whether posted online and published offline, the Nigerian mass media seem to be an encyclopedia of bad news these days. That was until October 1; just a few days ago.
The news came with no screaming headline. But it sure brightened our 63rd Independence Day celebration and restored hope to a bewildered nation and its battered citizens. Here was the headline: Reduction in Prices of BUA Cement.
Wait a minute! How did that happen? In Nigeria, it is traditional that everything that goes up possesses the capacity to come down, except prices of goods and services. They demonstrate what media experts term linearity attributes—no mediation, no counter mechanism.
But on October 1, BUA Group announced reduction in its prices of cement. The news came like the Biblical stream of water in the desert of hardship faced by millions of Nigerians. Though I have no ongoing building projects to draw benefits from this largesse, my excitement and that of other Nigerians over this patriotic act by the company stemmed from several fronts.
First, BUA had made the promise that it would revisit its cement prices in a bid to ignite more action in the building sector. Most of us had received the information with the proverbial pinch of salt, because it came at a time prices of consumables were rising. Today, that promise has been kept.
Second, the fulfilment of that promise was conditionally scheduled for execution on completion of the company’s new production lines. But on October 1, the company decided to push the deal forward; long before the scheduled period earlier announced.
Third, further reduction in cement prices is still being expected. The company has promised that on completion of the ongoing construction of its new plant, expected to increase its production volume, the just-reviewed prices would be reviewed downward again.
Then this additional unprecedented goodwill: every undelivered order, paid for at the old prices, is to be reviewed and delivered on the new price of N3,500 per bag beginning from October 2, 2023.
BUA certainly deserves endless applause, not only from cement dealers and builders, but from every Nigerian. This is because when houses are built at lower costs, rents on such properties are expected to stabilize, even if there is no reduction.
Let me specially thank the Chairman of BUA, a great friend and a remarkable Nigerian, Abdul Samad Rabiu, CFR, CON, for not only presiding over this decision, but also ensuring that it is implemented.
I have always known that Rabiu loves this country. However, this particular act, at this critical time, when Nigerians are passing through mouth-drying tough moments, stands him out as an unequalled patriot. Even if I am not deriving any direct benefit from this arrangement, this man has made my day.
Indeed, this act by BUA Group, under my friend Rabiu, is another undeniable prove that there is hope for this country.
This news came as the much-needed palliatives to Nigerians in the midst of an orchestrated non-subsidised economy.
The burden is now on the licensed dealers to ensure that the end-users benefit from and enjoy this price reduction which has come to stay. Joyfully, BUA Group has promised to monitor and ensure that the middle-men do not take advantage of the situation to make dirty profits.
For me, this is a call on every provider of goods and services to have the love of suffering Nigerians at heart and reconsider the costs of their goods and services for the good of all Nigerians.
Petroleum product dealers can still make huge profits without selling their products at suicidal costs. Universities and hospitals do not need to charge higher fees than what is currently in operation. Let’s copy BUA Group. Let’s keep hope alive.
Mr Alaibe, former Managing Director, Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), lives in Abuja