Wholesalers and retailers of steel products including iron rods have described as unacceptable and unpatriotic increase in prices of steel products by the seven steel manufacturing companies operating in Ghana.

The companies, B5 plus, United Steel, Tema Steel, and Rider Steel Company Limited among others in a communication to their wholesalers and retailers have announced an upward adjustment in prices of Mild Steel effective March 1, 2020.

Information picked up by Joy Business shows that the alleged increment by the seven companies, which are suspected to have formed a cartel, has been happening monthly since November 2019.

A message sent to all wholesalers sighted by JoyBusiness reads:
“Please find attached the following as Mild Steel Rods price schedule with effect from 1st March 2020.

Mild Steel: 10, millimetres now sells at GH¢3,200 instead of the GH¢3000. Also, 20 millimetres now sell GH¢3,280 instead of GH¢2900.”

Similar messages were sent in November, December, January and February culminating in an almost 100 per cent increment in steel products.

This latest increment comes on the back of the President’s announcement of 50 per cent 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.

Further checks suggest that the companies which enjoy exclusive manufacturing of iron rods and other steel products because of the government’s ban on importation of steel have created an artificial shortage of the products to force the wholesalers and retailers to buy at their price.

This has pushed, wholesalers in the steel business to call on the President, the Minister for Trade to look into the matter, describing the development as “cheating, especially in these troubling times where coronavirus is already eating their profits.”