Nigeria: coalition demand 42.5 grade of cement

Nigeria: coalition demand 42.5 grade of cement
Published: 04 February 2014

Tagged Under: Nigeria 

A coalition of civil society groups and professional bodies in the construction industry is launching a campaign in Nigeria for the standardisation of cement production and importation. Specifically, the coalition said it would call on the relevant authorities to initiate actions to make 42.5 grade of cement the standard product in Nigeria.

It noted that nearly all the cement manufacturers and importers in the country are take advantage of the lax regulation and lack of enforcement to vary their pigmentation in favour of the lower-grade cement (32.5), which is often used in building work, and seen to be partly responsible for building collapse.

Speaking on the development, the coalition’s spokesperson, Tunde Ojo, blamed the Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Olusegun Aganga, for alleged complicity with manufacturers and vowed to mobilise block makers nation-wide against manufacturers and importers of poor-quality cement.

In the working document titled: ‘Cement: Standardisation, Safety Versus Affordability and Poor Quality’, the coalition said: “How do you identify good quality cement, is it by the manufacturer's name, or by its composition, or pigmentation, if you like? Many a people, whether literate or not, identify cement mere by producer’s name. So, it is common to see most people, builders and non-builders alike, identifying with Eagle Cement for instance, or Elephant Cement, or Dangote Cement, Rock Cement, UNICEM, BUA and so on, just to mention but a few. It matters very little to most buyers or customers, what the composition or the contents or pigmentation of the cement bag is. For many, what influences what brand of cement to buy, is the price, and in most cases, the proximity to the point of usage.

“What that means is that, in a cement market where you have displayed products from Lafarge, Dangote, UNICEM, Ibeto and Northern Cement Company of Nigeria, BUA, Ashaka for instance, buying any one as experience has shown, would essentially be a function of price and proximity. Not many, without stretching the argument too far, would be concerned, or are even conscious about quality. To them, they are all cement, the difference perhaps, is like six and half-a-dozen. But it is beyond that."

The coalition plans to take its campaign to the National Assembly with a plea that the lawmakers probe manufacturers and importers of cement for compromising standards in the building and construction sub-sector. They also vowed to confront the Cement Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (CMAN) for poor standard of locally-produced and imported cement.