Stakeholders in the building and construction industry, yesterday praised members of the House of Representatives for the bold step in support of the higher quality 42.5 cement grade as the minimum cement standard for general purpose in Nigeria, describing it as a decision in support of the common man.
Secretary-General of the Cement Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (CMAN), Mr. James Salako, who hailed the decision, said he hopped the move will bring an end to the claims and counter claims of various group on the right quality, in order for the nations cement sector make the much needed advancement.
He said being the representatives of the Nigerian people, the voice of the National Assembly should be able to calm frayed nerves in the issues that have distracted the fledging sector since the beginning of the year.
Also commenting on the issue, Vice-President of the National Association of Chambers of Commerce and Industry Mines and Agriculture (NACCIMA), Mr. Dele Oye, said it was delightful that the National Assembly took it upon itself to investigate the problem of building collapse in the country and have now come up with a decision that hopefully would help to manage the crisis and reduce the loss of lives and property.
“It is good to know that the House of Representatives would take such a matter which mostly affect the ordinary man on the street upon itself and proffer a solution. I therefore urge all parties involved to heed the conclusion of the House on the issue as the way forward.
The Management of Dangote Cement in its reaction yesterday said the decision of the House of Representatives, which recommended the usage of 42.5mpa cement grade for all general building and construction works in the country, was the best for the nation.
The House of Representatives, on Wednesday, approved the recommendation of its ad hoc committee on composition and pigmentation of cement that 42.5mpa grade cement should be the minimum standard for construction works
Managing Director of Dangote Cement, Mr. DVG Edwin said the House acted in the interest of the larger populace that they respectively represent and that their decision is in the best interest of the country.
He noted that the House decision will go a long way in significantly reducing the incidence of building collapse in the country. To Edwin, “The House has given Nigerians the best Ramadan gifts ever” Edwin wondered why some manufacturers will intentionally discredit the higher cement grade, just for the purpose of profit maximization.
The House adopted the report of Rep Yakubu Dogara committee, which investigated incidence of collapsed buildings in the country. The House said 42.5 grade cement was recommended “because it is less susceptible to misapplication and most stakeholders will prefer it if given the chance to choose between 32.5mpa and 42.5mpa.”
The committee turned out 12 recommendations all of which were adopted by the lawmakers.
The lawmakers urged the governing council of Standard Organisation of Nigeria (SON) to ensure that all cement manufacturers in Nigeria retool and upgrade their production lines to start producing the 42.5mpa grade within a reasonable time from now.
It was recommended further that the government should create a cement fund from contributions of N10 per 50kg bag of cement produced in Nigeria and N20 only per 50kg of cement imported into Nigeria for the establishment of state-of-the-art laboratories in all the geo-political zones within the period of three years.
The fund, said the lawmakers, should be managed by a task force to be set up by SON, the Council for the Regulation of Engineering in Nigeria (COREN), the Council of Registered Builders of Nigeria (CORBON) and the Nigerian Institute of Building (NIOB).
The lawmakers also recommended that the passage of the National Building Code Bill should be expedited and strictly enforced when passed into law to check quackery, use of substandard building materials and to serve as a tool for the regulation of the informal downstream sector of the industry.
Reacting to the approval of the upgraded cement by the House, the National President of Nigerian Block Makers Association, Alhaji Rasheed Adebowale, said the approval will put to rest the agitations in the sector and it should be seen as a clarion call for all the cement manufacturers to quickly upgrade the tools and standard in the interest of the teeming Nigerians.
While absolving the block makers of being culpable for building collapse in the country, he urged all cement manufacturers to upgrade the quality of cement they produce from the lower 32.5 cadre to 42.5 grades, in the in the interest of safety of human lives.
He said: “42.5 cement grade had long been the accepted cement grades in the country but about 10 years ago, standards seem to have dropped to 32.5 grades and incidentally some of the worst cases of building collapse in the country had happened in the last decade, therefore underscoring the importance of re- establishing 42.5 as the minimum acceptable standard of cement in the country”
Lagos State Chairman of the Block makers Association, Alhaji Okunola Abegunde in the same vein praised the House of Representatives, for the bold step taken to upgrade the standard of cement in the country.
He loathed the idea of placing the responsibility of failed structures in the country on block makers.
He said a lot of technicalities are involved in the construction of building and in order to avoid the incidence of building collapse, he urged regulators to manage the quality of inputs from manufacturers all the way to the ordinary builders at construction sites. He also urged SON to see to the full implementations of the House of Representatives reports.