The three are responsible for 50 per cent of the cement in the Nigerian market.
The three top cement manufacturers in the country: BUA, Ibeto and Dangote, say they welcome the call for the country to move to the sole use of the enhanced class of cement called the 42.5mpa grade, used for producing high-strength concrete.
The three are responsible for 50 per cent of the cement in the Nigerian market, and they already produce the 42.5mpa grade product.
Building experts in the academia and in the industry have spoken strongly against the prevalent use of the regular grade 32.5 MPa cement that had been blamed, in part, for many incidences of collapsed building in Nigerian urban areas.
The 32.5 grade cement, which is also about 50 per cent of the cement commonly used in the country, is suitable merely for plastering, block-making and light concrete activities according to Joseph Odumodu, the Chief Executive, Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON), in a memorandum, he submitted to the House of Representatives in which he canvassed for the investigation of the composition and pigmentation of cement in the country. The 32.5 grade cement has been banned in countries like the United States, India and China.
Concrete, which is a mixture of cement, water, sand and gravel, is used to construct buildings, bridges and roadways in the country. Its strength and durability is measured using megapascals (MPa).
Rising from an oversight meeting a forthnight ago, an ad-hoc committee of the House of Representatives urged the plenary session of the House to mandate the 42.5mpa cement grade as the minimum standard to be produced for general building and construction in the country. The Committee also called that all expired cement in the country should be withdrawn from the market while calling on the Federal Government to enact the National Building Code, put in place a Construction Industry Commission and laboratory, training and retraining of building practitioners and strict adherence to quality building materials according to specifications.
Also, the committee submitted that any cement manufacturer or distributor implicated in the sale of expired cement must be maximally sanctioned to ensure that sanity prevails in the nation’s cement manufacturing and construction industry.
The Chairman of BUA Cement, Abdulsamad Rabiu, after a meeting in Lagos weekend, saluted the House of Representative for what he called a patriotic move urging support from all manufacturers with the safety and well being of the people at heart.
He explained that what cement manufacturers and indeed other stakeholders should do is to cooperate with the SON as the regulating authority to curtail the menace of structural failure in the country.
Mr. Rabiu stated: “The BUA Cement brand is different from others because it is of 42.5 and 52.5 texture grade. This is the highest quality texture, which mixes and dries easily.
In its reaction, the management of Dangote Cement said it was poised to give all necessary support to the government and its agencies to succeed in the bid to stem the spate of building collapse through production of quality cement that can stand the test of time.
Its Group Managing Director, Devakumar Edwin, explained that Dangote Cement has never produced a lower grade of cement and that the quality review by SON, which was also affirmed by the federal lawmakers who investigated the disturbing menace of structure failures only confirmed its long held view that Nigerians deserve the best quality of cement.
“As for us in Dangote Cement, we have the understanding that the new standard which prescribes the production and use of the 52.5 grade of cement for the construction of bridges; the 42.5 grade for the casting of columns, slabs and moulding of blocks and other construction works is in line with the current prevailing international standards to which we pledge our full support,” said Mr. Edwin.
A major cement distributor and leader of Cement distributors in Lagos, Kingsley Jaja, commended the House Representatives for its intervention in the unsavoury situation in the construction industry, saying his members were particularly happy with the stand of the lawmakers especially on the need for withdrawal of expired cement and punishment for any manufacturer implicated in the unwholesome practice.
In Nigeria, consumers enjoy no protection and the position of the federal lawmakers is a form of protection for the consumers in the building industry against unscrupulous manufacturers of cement. All over the world, defective products are withdrawn from the market, just as we see automobile manufacturers recalling defective vehicles no matter the number of them already in the market, he stated.