Liberia’s Major Cement Producer Cuts Price after Negotiation with Gov’t

Liberia’s Commerce Minister Wilson Tarpeh, (third from left) describes the new retail price of a bag of cement as a fundamental step by the firm

Monrovia – The management of the Liberia Cement Corporation announced on Friday that it has reduced the price of a bag of cement for end users in various parts of the country.

Report by Alpha Daffae Senkpeni Daffae, [email protected]

The new price varies per location in the country but expect to make a major impact on the construction sector, as the company seeks to make the product more accessible and affordable for end users.

Making the announcement at its plant on Bushrold Island in Monrovia, the General Manager of Cemenco said despite earlier reduction of the price of a bag of cement at the plant, end users were still challenged with the high retail price.

“We have observed that the final price was still being high for end users at the various points of sale in the city,” said William Gaignard, Manager Director of Cemenco.

“At such, we have decided to open Cemenco outlets in order to distribute our product directly and indirectly, which will enable us to control prices.”

He added that the firm is committed to the Liberian people by producing quality cement for customers’ demand, serving customer in a fair and transparent way and responding to the demand of the market in the 15 counties by making cement accessible and affordable.

The firm is opening six outlets in Monrovia and also will move to Ganta (Nimba County), Buchanan (Grand Bassa County), and Lofa County where outlets will also be set up.

The cut in price and establishment of new outlets, the firm says, will reduce the price for ordinary Liberians and enable people to build more concrete homes outside of Monrovia as part of the government’s Pro-poor agenda.

The firm, however, mentioned that it is facing logistically constraints in getting to the southeast of the country but it’s working to transport cement there by sea to ensure that its product reaches customers.

Professor Wilson Tarpeh, Liberia’s Minister of Commerce, described the new price cut as a “fundamental step” taken by the company, while stressing that the company has transcended from being a shareholder to a stakeholder in the country.

Tarpeh disclosed that it took four months to negotiate with the firm before arriving at its latest decision, considering that cement is a vital part of the construction sector.

“And as a Pro-poor government, as our people endeavour to build structures in which they can dwell, it became necessary for the Ministry of Commerce and Industry to engage Cemenco – the major producer of this important commodity to see how the prices could be reduced, and that the commodity will be available and affordable,” he said, while praising the company for being “very forthcoming” during the process of the negotiation.

The new price for a bag of cement for end users in Monrovia and its environs will now be US$6.85, down from the current price which is more than US$8.50 based on the location of the sale.

In Ganta City, end users will purchase a bag for US$7.10; US$6.95 in Buchanan and in Lofa County a bag will be sold for not more than US$8.00, according to Cemenco.

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Commerce has called on customers to ensure that the prices are not manipulated by retailers.

Minister Tarpeh, responding to a question from journalists, said “the public has been extremely helpful” in helping enforce some of the commerce regulations, adding that the ministry “continue to rely on the public.

He also announced that the ministry will publicize the price, set up a complainant hotline and ensure inspectors monitor the market.