THE Prime Minister has called on hardwares to refrain from price gouging cement prices.
Dr Rowley in a media conference on Saturday at the Diplomatic Centre, St Ann's said it was disturbing that some businesses were increasing their prices at a time when people were financially struggling.
“With construction closed and cement in warehouses not being utilised, I would like someone to explain, what is the driving force in the increase in price of cement?
“There are people who are leeches, being greedy, and they will take advantage of the sick, the aged and the infirmed. I have no understanding as to what has gone on to incur cost for any supplier of cement with the result warranting an increase in the price of cement.”
Rowley said there has not been any cement shortage as Trinidad Cement Limited (TCL) was granted exemption to continue operations.
“We’ve given TCL exemption to export its cement so that we do not lose our contracts and our business. And instead of getting people walking in step with others in the country, as we are trying to survive a pandemic, there are people trying to dig out your eye. It is not right, and it is simply taking advantage of a bad situation.”
TCL in a statement last month said it temporarily stopped production on May 8 after the Prime Minister closed the construction sector until May 23.
It urged hardware stores to “uphold fair trading practices during this difficult period.”
There have been posts on several social media platforms of customers complaining of increased prices, some paying up to $150 for a bag of cement, which was normally sold at $40.