Information gathered indicates that B5 Plus, Tema Steel Company and 5 other Steel manufacturers have increased price despite government’s 50 percent decrease in electricity.
This development has given cause for worry for wholesalers and retailers of steel products including iron rods who described as unacceptable, selfish and unpatriotic the increase in prices of steel products by the seven manufacturing companies operating in Ghana.
The companies, B5 plus, Ferro Fabriks, United Steel, Tema Steel, Sentuo Steel, Fabrimental and Rider Steel Company Limited have in communication to its wholesalers and retailers indicated adjustment in prices of Mild Steel effective march 1st, 2020.
This latest increment however comes on the back of the President announcement of 50 percent reduction in electricity cost for all businesses and individuals above the poverty line among measures to cushion the country against the impact of the Coronavirus pandemic.
It has been established that the increment by the seven companies which has formed a cartel has been happening on a monthly basis since November 2019.
A message sent to all wholesalers intercepted by this paper reads;
Please find attached the following as Mild Steel Rods price schedule with effect from 1st March, 2020.
Mild Steel: 10, 11, 126.96.36.199 millimeters now sells at 3,200 cedis instead of the 3000 cedis. Also 20 millimeters now sells 3,280 instead of 2900 cedis. Regards.
Similar messages were sent in November, December, January and February culminating in an almost 100 percent increment in steel products.
Further checks have revealed that the companies which enjoys exclusive manufacturing of the iron rods and other steel products because of Governments ban on importation of steel has created artificial shortage of the products to force the wholesalers and retailers to buy at their price.
A source in the steel wholesaling business revealed that they are helpless because government officials aware of what the source described as the day light robbery and exploitation by the cartel but have refused to act on their concerns.’ We think that the seven companies are unpatriotic, selfish and greedy because how do you explain this. Government has reduced cost of electricity which has brought down their cost of production which is a major key input but instead they have decided to increase prices and people cannot afford and we have no one to speak for us. Worst still they have created an artificial shortage so we have no option than to buy from them because we cannot import from China and elsewhere which is far cheaper because of the government ban. I think the president, the minister for trade should look into this because this is cheating especially in this time where everyone is sacrificing to help the country out of this mess to the economy the Coronavirus has created, he intimated.
When reached out for response, managers of some of the companies refused to comment.