Ebonyi stone dealers shutdown operations over Chinese firm’s incessant price hike

Ebonyi stone dealers shutdown operations over Chinese firm’s incessant price hike

Stone Dealers Association and Truck Owners Association in Ivo Local Government Area of Ebonyi State, have shut down their businesses to protest increase in the price of materials by Chinese firms operating in the mineral rich local government.

The two associations also shutdown businesses to protest an increase in haulage fees by the Chinese firms.

The associations shutdown businesses last week and vowed not to start operations until the prices of the materials and haulage were reduced.

Mr Njoku Godwin Uchechi, the chairman of Amaeze chapter of Ivo Association of Stone Dealers said they were protesting the incessant increment in the price of materials in the business which he said was severely affecting the association.

“We have lost our customers to our neighbouring villages like Lokpanta and Uturu in Abia State, because this business is very competitive, haulage business is competitive.

“We were paying N4,000 per tonne after which the Chinese increased it to N9,500, they increased it again to N12,900. This time around, they have increased it to N18,300 per tonne which is not favourable to us.

“We want the government to call them to order because the government has fixed prices of shippings. The prices should come down to enable us to survive in the business,” he said.

On his part, the chairman of Anor Stone Dealers Association in the local government, Mr Chukwu James Okafor, said all the sizes of stones are affected in the price increment.

“They increased the prices of these shippings to 50 per cent which is not supposed to be so. We are not against the increment but it is very harsh on us and it is affecting us in the business. We are the marketers and they are the producers. We are supposed to have mutual understanding with them so that it will not affect the marketers.

“We are calling on the state government to come to our aid because the investors are suppressing us. We are suffering while they are enjoying. After getting all these exorbitant fees from us, they convert it into dollars and send to their country,” he said.

He stressed that the two associations will not open operations except the prices are reduced.

“As you can see, no truck is loading any chipping in Ivo and it will remain like that. We started doing this last week and we are not relenting until the right thing is done,” said Okafor.

Efforts made by DAILY POST to get reactions from one of the Chinese firms operating in the area, at the time of filing in this report, were unsuccessful.

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