The management of Dangote Cement Plc has clarified that the price of a bag of cement from its factories and plants across Nigeria (as of 12th April 2021) is N2,450 in Obajana and Gboko and N2,510 in Ibese, inclusive of VAT.
The clarification was made because of recent reports that the company sells cement in Nigeria at significantly higher prices relative to other countries, particularly Ghana and Zambia.
SaharaReporters had reported that Dangote Cement Group sells its product in Southern African country, Zambia, for at most 110 Kwacha which equals to about N1, 800 in Nigeria, while the same product sells for not less than N3, 500 in Nigeria.
Dangote Cement Group has offered explanations on the difference in prices in both countries, saying it cannot control the prices of its product when it gets to the market.
Dangote’s Group Executive Director, Strategy, Portfolio Development & Capital Projects, Devakumar Edwin, revealed that, while a bag of Cement sells for an equivalent of $5.1, including VAT in Nigeria, it sells for $7.2 in Ghana and $5.95 in Zambia ex-factory, inclusive of all taxes.
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He said though the company has direct control over its ex-factory prices, it cannot control cement’s ultimate price when it gets to the market. He advised that it is essential to distinguish Dangote’s ex-factory prices from prices at which retailers sell cement in the market, DailyNigerian reports.
He, therefore, frowned on misinformation that Dangote sells its cement at higher prices in Nigeria relative to other African countries at the expense of Nigerians.
He described the allegation as false, misleading, and unfounded while giving the media persons present at the press conference copies of invoices from Nigeria and some other African countries (Cameroun, Ghana, Sierra Leone, Zambia) and urging them to conduct independent investigations on the price of cement across the West African coast.
Edwin further explained that while Dangote cement has 60% share of the market, other companies have the remaining 40%. DCP has no control over neither the prices charged by other cement manufacturers nor the prices charged by retailers in the markets.
He said, “Demand for cement has risen globally as a fallout of the COVID crisis. Nigeria is no exception, as a combination of monetary policy changes and low returns from the capital market has resulted in a significant increase in construction activity.
“To ensure that we meet local demand, we decided to suspend exports from our recently commissioned export terminals, thereby foregoing dollar earnings. We also had to reactivate our 4.5m ton capacity Gboko Plant which was closed four years ago, and run it at a higher cost, all in a bid to guarantee that we meet demand and keep the price of Cement within control in the country.”
“Over the past 15 months, our production costs have gone up significantly. About 50% of our expenses are linked to USD, so the cost of critical components like gas, gypsum, bags, and spare parts; has increased significantly due to the devaluation of the Naira and VAT increase. Despite this, DCP has not increased ex-factory prices since December 2019 till date while prices of most other building materials have gone up significantly. We have only adjusted our transport rates to account for higher diesel costs, spare parts, tyres, and truck replacement.
“Still, we charge our customers only N300 – 350 per bag for deliveries within a 1,200km radius. We have been responsible enough not to even attempt to cash in on the recent rise in demand to increase prices so far,” he said
Gates Foundation Shakes As American Billionaire, Warren Buffett Resigns From The Foundation
Warren Buffett, the chairman and chief executive of Berkshire Hathaway, said on Wednesday that he has resigned as a trustee of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, weeks after the couple announced their divorce.
Mr. Buffett, a longtime friend of Mr. Gates, had been a huge presence at the Gates Foundation: It is one of five nonprofit organisations to which he has pledged the majority of his fortune — estimated at $105.3 billion, according to Forbes — and the only one not run by a member of the Buffett family.
All told, Mr. Buffett, 90, has donated $41 billion worth of Berkshire stock to the five foundations. In Wednesday’s announcement, he said he has donated an additional $4.1 billion, New York Times reports.
“For years I have been a trustee — an inactive trustee at that — of only one recipient of my funds, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (BMG),” Mr. Buffett said in a statement. “I am now resigning from that post, just as I have done at all corporate boards other than Berkshire’s.”
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Mr. Buffett did not give a reason for his action. The foundation’s reputation for global philanthropy has lately been overshadowed by reports of Mr. Gates’s questionable conduct in work-related settings. The New York Times has reported that on at least a few occasions, Mr. Gates pursued women who worked for him at Microsoft and at the foundation, according to people with direct knowledge of his overtures.
In 2019, Microsoft’s board, on which Mr. Gates sat, opened an inquiry into one of those cases after being notified that he had “sought to initiate an intimate relationship with a company employee in the year 2000,” a Microsoft spokesman said. The board hired a law firm to investigate. The following year, Mr. Gates stepped down from Microsoft’s board.
Also in Wednesday’s statement, Mr. Buffett acknowledged the recent debate over how little in income tax American billionaires — including himself — pay. Citing leaked Internal Revenue Service data, the news organisation Propublica reported that the Berkshire chief paid just $23.7 million in taxes from 2014 to 2018, a period when his wealth grew $24 billion.
Without referring to the ProPublica article specifically, Mr. Buffett acknowledged that he had “relatively little” income, with his wealth flowing largely from his Berkshire holdings. He also argued that his charitable donations led to only about 40 cents per $1,000 in donations.
A longtime advocate of tightening tax rules for the wealth, Mr. Buffett said Wednesday that although tax deductions were important to some wealthy donors, “it is fitting that Congress periodically revisits the tax policy for charitable contributions, particularly in respect to donors who get imaginative.”
Nigeria Relegated As Amazon Chooses Its African Headquarters In South Africa
Amazon has concluded plans to open its African headquarters in South Africa with a real estate investment of over R4 billion.
Authorities in Cape Town said Amazon would be occupying a new development in River Club, a prime section of the city, local media reported.
The 15-hectare parcel of land will cost R4 billion and include two precincts. Authorities said the first precinct of 60,000sqm would occupy different layers of development, while the second section of 70,000 will hold Amazon headquarters in Africa.
“US retail giant, Amazon, will be the anchor tenant, opening a base of operations on the African continent,” Cape Town city officials said in a statement. “The development is envisaged to take place in phases, with construction set to take place over three to five years.”
Over 5,000 direct construction jobs and 19,000 indirect jobs are expected to be created due to the move, Business Tech reported.
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Amazon has had its web engineering giant AWS in South Africa for years, but its main e-commerce services have not been available anywhere on the continent.
The announcement comes a week after Twitter picked Ghana for its first African office and headquarters. Twitter said Ghana’s democratic and economic strides made the West African country a highly competitive destination over Nigeria and other countries.
It was unclear whether Amazon considered Nigeria and similar parameters as Twitter while deciding its African base.
We’re Losing Millions Of Dollars To Sell Cement In Nigeria—Dangote
Dangote Group says its cement is cheaper in Nigeria than in Ghana and that it is losing dollar earnings focusing on the Nigerian market.
“To ensure that we meet local demands, we had to suspend exports from our recently inaugurated export terminals, thereby foregoing dollar earnings,” he said, adding that the company also reactivated its 4.5 million ton capacity Gboko plant
“While a bag of cement sells for an equivalent of $5.1, including VAT in Nigeria, it sells for $7.2 in Ghana and $5.95 in Zambia ex-factory, inclusive of all taxes,” it claimed in a statement amid claims the price of Dangote’s cement is higher in Nigeria than elsewhere.
Dangote Cement noted that the price of a bag of cement from its factories and plants in Obajana and Gboko was N2,450 and N2,510 at Ibese, including the Value Added Tax (VAT) as of April 12.
Devakumar Edwin, the company’s Group Executive Director in charge of Strategy, Portfolio Development, and Capital Projects, stated this in a statement in Lokoja on Tuesday.
According to him, the clarifications become necessary given the recent insinuations that the company sells cement in Nigeria at higher prices relative to its sales in other countries, particularly in Ghana and Zambia.
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Though the company had direct control over its ex-factory prices, Edwin said it could not control the cement’s price in the open market.
“This is all in a bid to guarantee that we meet demands and keep the price of cement within control in the country. Over the past 15 months, our production costs have gone up significantly.
“About 50 per cent of our costs are linked to the USD (dollar), so the prices of critical components such as gas, gypsum, bags, and spare parts; have increased significantly due to the devaluation of the Naira and VAT increase.
“Despite this, Dangote Cement has not increased ex-factory prices since December 2019 to date while prices of most other building materials have gone up significantly,” he said.
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