Take steps to rein in rod prices or face strike
The Bangladesh Association of Construction Industry (BACI) yesterday threatened to suspend work in all development projects from April 15 if the government does not take steps to contain the spiralling prices of construction materials.
“If the prices of rod and cement do not come down immediately, we will have to count huge losses,” said Munir Uddin Ahmed, president of the platform of contractors and engineers.
In the last seven months, prices of billet—the key raw material for rod production—fell 6.25 percent to $525 a tonne, but a syndicate of manufacturers increased prices of 60-grade rod by 50 percent to Tk 72,000 a tonne, he said.
Ahmed was speaking at a press meet at Dhaka Reporters' Unity in the capital.
If the price trend is taken into consideration, the manufacturers can at best increase rod prices by a maximum of 8 percent and sell a tonne of rod at Tk 51,840, he said.
The country requires 40 lakh tonnes of raw materials, mainly scraps, every day to make billets for manufacturing steel.
Moreover, the government should also adjust contract prices of different development projects considering the increasing prices of raw materials to comply with the Price Adjustment Clause-27.9 of the public procurement rules, Ahmed said.
It was mentioned in the clause that the “unit rates quoted by the tenderers are subject to adjustment during the performance of the contract...” he said.
Each tonne of 60-grade rod was sold at Tk 48,000 in the first half of November, which increased to Tk 50,000 in the second half, Tk 55,000 in January this year, Tk 57,000 in February and Tk 63,000 in the first half of March.
Meanwhile, Shafiul Islam Mohiuddin, president of the Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce Industry, asked the leaders of the BACI to inform him in writing by Sunday on why rod prices should be decreased, said an official of the BACI requesting anonymity.
Mohiuddin made the call in a meeting with the leaders of the BACI and rod manufacturers later in the day yesterday.
Small manufacturers of rod were found selling a tonne of 60-grade rod at Tk 67,000 in the city yesterday. SM Khorshed Alam, vice president of BACI, was also present at the conference.