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Govt sits with stakeholders soon to review prices of building materials

FE Report | April 02, 2018 00:00:00

Rod and cement manufacturers are at loggerheads with builders over the price hike of construction materials in the domestic market.

Even though the manufacturers have cited upward trend in prices of construction materials in the global market along with some other internal factors as reasons for price hike, the constructors turned down their plea alleging that they (manufacturers) unethically pushed up the prices of such materials.

"We will sit with stakeholders and ministers concerned soon and review the prices of construction materials," Commerce Minister Tofail Ahmed told reporters after a review meeting on recent price hike of building materials with the country's construction industry leaders at his secretariat office on Sunday.

Commerce secretary Shubhashish Bose, Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FBCCI) president Md Shafiul Islam (Mohiuddin), its former president Mir Nasir Hossain, chairman of Meghna Group Mostafa Kamal, Real Estate and Housing Association of Bangladesh (REHAB) president Alamgir Shamsul Alamin, Bangladesh Auto Re-Rolling and Steel Mills Association chairman Manwar Hossain, Bangladesh Association of Construction Industry (BACI) president Monir Uddin Ahmed and other representatives concerned were present at the meeting.

Some companies are pushing up the prices of construction materials, said Mr Nasir, adding that current price hike of construction materials is unusual. The government should make a balanced policy on price structure for construction materials.

Mr Shafiul proposed formation of a high-powered committee to check the prices of construction materials which go up logically or illogically and stern actions should be taken against wrongdoers.

Mr Mostafa Kamal said the price of cement increased by only Tk 60 per sack in last 25 days. But its price increased sharply in the global market due to hike of raw materials, he added.

Mr Monir said the construction industry is heading towards a crisis moment. The activities in the industry would come to a halt unless the government takes steps right now to check the skyrocketing prices of rod and cement.

He, however, said prices of constructions materials should have been increased by 10 per cent due to price hike of raw materials in the international market, hike in transport cost, power and gas crises, import cost, dollar fluctuation and rise in bank interest rates. But a 40-50 per cent price hike of construction materials is not reasonable.

Mr Manwar attributed the price hike of rod to an increase in prices of raw materials in the international market, hike in transport cost, power and gas crises, import cost, dollar fluctuation and rise in bank interest rates. This is why the price of rod has increased by Tk 18,419 per tonne.

"We are selling rod at much lower price than retail one," he claimed.

He said the price of rod would decrease by Tk 4,000 per tonne if the government takes proper steps about vehicle's existing weight limit on goods transport through highways and removes existing off-deck barriers.

The government should take proper steps to check the price hike of construction materials as it has taken up different mega projects in the country, Mr Shamsul Alamin said, adding that a huge quantity of construction materials will be required when these mega projects will start.

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