The National Construction Association of Sri Lanka (NCASL) expressed concern over the Rs.3,000 price increase of a cement bag announced by manufacturing companies without prior approval from the Government and said this situation badly affected four million people, engaged in the country’s construction field.
According to NCASL statistics nearly 375,000 people are directly involved in the construction industry in Sri Lanka and over 650,000 people are indirectly engaged in the industry. He said in addition about three million are reported as dependents of persons involved in the construction industry.
Liyanaratchchi said that cement manufacturers had increased the price of cement twice during the past two months and as a result many building contractors were compelled to stop not only the private sector construction work but also certain major Government construction work due to insufficient funds that were allocated to purchase cement and other related raw materials such as sand, granite and iron in the local market.
Meanwhile, some unofficial reports say that cement manufacturing companies have increased the prices with the objective of seeking large profits under the cover of the dollar issue. Liyanaratchchi further said due to this situation most people who are involved in the industry are unable to even repay their already obtained bank loans and lease installments.
The NCASL Chairman also said due to the current cement shortage some unscrupulous traders were in the habit of selling cement beyond the controlled price. He added that currently the NCASL has undertaken many Government construction projects including the construction work of bridges in the rural and remote sectors.