HomeFeaturesEbonyi Stone Dealers Halt Operations Amid Chinese Price Hikes

Ebonyi Stone Dealers Halt Operations Amid Chinese Price Hikes

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Businesses owned by the Stone Dealers Association and Truck Owners Association in Ivo Local Government Area of Ebonyi State have ground to a halt as a form of protest against the escalating costs of materials, purportedly driven by the operations of Chinese companies in the area’s mineral-rich territory.

In addition to their grievances over rising material costs, the two associations have also suspended operations to protest an uptick in haulage fees imposed by Chinese firms.

Last week saw the associations take a resolute stand as they ceased operations and vowed not to restart until there was a significant reduction in both material prices and haulage rates.

At the helm of the Amaeze chapter of the Ivo Association of Stone Dealers, Mr. Njoku Godwin Uchechi articulated their protest against the ongoing escalation of material costs, lamenting its severe repercussions for 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.

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“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 made it clear that both associations were unwavering in their decision to keep operations closed until prices saw a decrease.

“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.

Despite attempts by journalists to obtain statements from one of the Chinese companies operating in the vicinity, no responses were forthcoming as of the time this report was completed.

The Eastern Updates 

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