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Cement price increase not acceptable—Mikey Joseph
Unacceptable. That’s the reaction by Mikey Joseph, past president of the Contractors Association of T&T, to the 9.5 per cent increase in cement prices. “Anytime cement prices goes up, it is difficult to accept. When you are talking about a 9.5 per cent it makes it even worse. You would have had people with ongoing contracts and they would be negatively affected because in those contracts you cannot recover increasing costs for materials.”
Joseph said the increase will be particularly difficult for new contractors on construction projects. “Our members are not pleased when this happens especially when we don’t get a reminder or an advice a couple months ahead,” he said. The increase, announced Monday by Trinidad Cement Ltd (TCL), means that a 42.5 kilogramme bag of cement will now cost approximately $55.
TCL said in a statement that it was justified in increasing its prices but Joseph said: “One would have thought with what happened last year (protests by TCL workers), any increase this year might have been minimal and would have come later into the year, not immediately at this time.” Joseph said the market was taken by surprise by the the increase.
Downsteam cement producers, Coosal’s Construction Company Limited, said the announcement from TCL just one day before the new prices took event, triggered an immediate increase, estimated at 20 per cent, in the cost of concrete and other masonry products. Company officials appealed for the removal of the tariff of imported cement as had been done in other Caribbean countries.
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