Mr Oyebamiji Dauda, Chairman, Lagos State Bricklayers’ Association, Mr Oyebamji Dauda has urged the federal government to address the rise in the price of cement to enhance access to affordable housing.
Dauda gave the advice in while speaking with newsmen in Lagos, recently.
He appealed to the government to make cement manufacturing business more competitive by allowing more competent producers to operate in the market.
According to him, allowing more producers will make cement production more competitive, leading to increase in supply and reduction in price.
“There is the need for establishment of more cement manufacturing firms to help crash the price.
“Our observation is that high cost of cement is as a result of few manufacturing plants,” he said.
Dauda added that high cost of cement was greatly affecting building construction as it was a major component of building materials.
The chairman expressed regret that a meeting held by his association with a major cement manufacturer to address the high cost of the product had yielded no result.
“As a major component of building materials, cement is supposed to be the cheapest of all other materials used in construction.
“It is however, unfortunate that the price has increased to the extent that a bag of cement now sells for between N2, 800 and N3, 000, depending on the brand.
“I can recall that our association held a meeting held with the President of the Dangote Group, Alhaji Aluko Dangote on August 22, 2013 and he promised to bring down the price of cement to N1, 200 per bag.
“It is unfortunate that up till today, nothing has been done in that direction. Rather, the price of cement has been increasing on daily basis,” he said.
Dauda, therefore, called on the federal government to formulate policies that would make the price cheaper and affordable.
This he said, had become necessary as cement had remained a major component in building construction, adding that its low price would guarantee access to affordable housing.
Dauda said that government could subsidise the product and stabilise the price at N1, 000, irrespective of the type or brand.
He called for ban on importation of building materials or increase in tariff for the suggestion to work.
Dauda also urged the government to grant tax holidays to companies producing building materials in order to relieve them of the high cost of production and consequently reduce their prices.
“Such a policy should not be limited to cement only; it should also apply to other materials being used in building construction.
“That will encourage local production and consumption of the materials, and as well make housing more affordable to Nigerians,” he said.
Construction Safety: Builders Seek New Procurement Standards
With the conclusion of its annual conference, the Nigerian Institute of Builders (NIOB) has sought for new procurement standards.
The conference which held in Port Harcourt focused on: Health, Safety, Enforcement and Professionalism for Sustainable Development” with experts in the built industry proffering solutions to the challenges facing the sector.
President of the NIOB, Kenneth Nduka while discussing the focus of the conference stressed that the enforcement of procurement laws will help infuse security and safety standards.
In an era where quacks have infiltrated the built sector, Nduka opined that procurement will check the problem of corruption , compromise of standards and the use of sub- standard products for construction.
“For us, safety and security should be a way of life fo every builder. We must embrace it as a routine”, Nduka said.
While speaking on the topic: Appraisal of Health, Safety Practices of Small and Medium Construction Sites”, Dr. Muyiwa Abubakar, a lecturer in Building Department, Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University disclosed that 60 percent of fatalities in construction sites come from buildings.
Abubakar stated that safety is pertinent so as to meet target time since construction is characterised with risks and hazards.
The lecturer harped on safety management practices that would be driven by training , competence and enforcement.
On his part, Dr Chris Igwe suggested that quality must not be compromised to ensure safety.
For him, enforcement of standards leads to adoption of safety and security at construction sites.
‘Industrialisation, Key To Achieving Local Content In Housing’
A member of Real Estate Developers Association of Nigeria (REDAN), Mr Benson Ngbede, says industrialisation is key to achieving local content inputs in providing affordable housing for citizens.
Ngbede told newsmen recently in Abuja that building houses would be cheaper when the country is able to develop its industries and locally produce materials that were currently imported.
“Most resources required to build houses are locally available in their raw state. Establishing industries that will turn these raw materials into finished products for builders will ensure affordable houses for citizens.
“Government needs to put in place what is needed for developers to provide houses at relatively affordable prices; that entails availability of land and infrastructure.
“We also need to look inward. We need to develop our industries. We need to be more industrialised to help us develop local content. “If we can do that, one bedroom house can go for 1million naira, 2 bedroom for about 1.5 million, while a 3 bedroom house can be sold for N3 million, since the materials are sourced at home
“To achieve this, institutions like NIBRRI must be properly funded and supported to carry out researches that will help develop materials needed to build houses.
“We have a place like Ajaokuta which can supply iron to the entire African continent, but it is lying there idle nd not working, forcing us to import metals from other places in the world, and at a high cost,” Ngbede lamented.
He also urged government to provide infrastructure, drainage, roads and other facilities necessary for real estate developers so as to ensure a consequence reduction in the cost of houses.
Housing Deficit: NGO To Invest $180m In Five Years
Shelter Afrique, an NGO, is to invest 180 million dollars in five years toward addressing Nigeria’s housing deficit, Mr Andrew Chimphondah, its Managing Director, said yesterday in Abuja.
Chimphondah said that the investment period would span from 2019 to 2024.
He said that Nigeria was a strategic market for Shelter Afrique, adding that the outfit’s shareholders included 44 African countries and two financial institutions.
According to him, Shelter Afrique provides loans, grants and credits for the development of the environment and the provision of houses for Africans.
Chimphondah said that Nigeria had 70 to 20 million estimated housing shortage.
“We are looking at the demand and supply side of housing. For the supply side, we will enter into Public-Private-Partnership with government with government providing land and subsidised infrastructure.
“Our organisation will provide the funding and expertise to carry out the project.
“We will commit and dedicate all the expertise to ensure that quality houses are delivered; we will also ensure that the houses are energy efficient, environmental friendly and comfortable,” he added.
Chimphondah said that most financial institutions had often complained of funding, but assured Nigerians that the NGO would fashion out a way to reduce the cost of the houses.
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