Viet Nam News
HÀ NỘI — Sand prices have soared over the past few days, following the Government’s order to tighten supervision of sand mining, though speculation is more likely to be blamed for the price jump.
Đỗ Thanh Nguyên, owner of a construction materials supply agent in Nam Định City, told Người Lao Động (The Labourer) newspaper that for one week, sand wholesalers had raised prices by 1.5-2 times and are delivering only half the earlier volumes of sand.
According to the wholesalers, the cause of the price hike is that supervision of sand mining has been tightened just as the construction season began.
In Hà Nội, sand prices have also jumped over the past few days. The owner of a building material company in the city said that sand prices now ranged between VNĐ120,000-200,000 (US$5.3-8.8) per cu.m, compared to the previous VNĐ80,000-180,000 per cu.m.
He predicted sand prices would continue to rise, saying that sand mining in the northern provinces of Bắc Ninh and Bắc Giang had been suspended until inspections had been completed, which has sharply reduced supplies.
Further, the owner of a construction contractor in Hà Nội’s Cầu Giấy District said that the prices of sand has skyrocketed, causing his business great risks, since it had signed a construction contract before the price hike.
According to the Ministry of Construction’s Department of Construction Materials, the legal sites for mining sand could only meet 60-65 per cent of the needs of large cities. Meanwhile, the nationwide demand for sand has increased sharply, from 92 million cu.m in 2015 to 130 million cu.m by 2020.
Because large amounts of sand come from unlicensed sources, the restrictions on sand mining has reduced the supply of sand, pushing up prices, the department explained.
However, Phạm Sỹ Liêm, former minister of construction, said that the shortage in sand was not serious enough to have caused the price hike. The situation was likely due to speculation, he said, adding that authorities needed to clarify why prices saw such large increases.
Nguyễn Ngọc Thanh, head of the Construction Materials Division under the HCM City Department of Construction, said that rising sand prices were due to a divergence between supply and demand.
To help people and businesses keep track of prices, the department regularly updates and posts price tables from many construction material suppliers for their reference.
Regarding the question of whether Government supervision has caused sand prices to jump, Thanh said that there was no evidence to support this, since it was difficult to determine the amounts of legal and illegal sand supplies.
Deputy head of Hà Nội’s National Assembly delegation Ngô Duy Hiểu was quoted by Người Lao Động as saying that there should be a mechanism to organise sand-mining bids to legitimate enterprises to prevent sand smuggling, which ultimately would help stabilise the market. — VNS