Posted by News Express | 17 February 2016 | 5,103 times
Mr Johnson Olaniyi is the Regional Sales Director of Dangote Cement. He coordinates the activities of end users, including block moulders. He was in Umuahia on Thursday, February 4, 2016 to attend a meeting of the South-East, South-West and South-South leaders of National Association of Block Moulders of Nigeria (NABMON). In an interview with News Express Regional Editor BONIFACE OKORO, the Director spoke of the rosy partnership between the group and his company and explained that Dangote crashed the price of its cement brand to make it easily affordable and accessible, thereby enhancing quality of cement blocks and, by extension, eradicating building collapse. Excerpts:
News Express: Why and how is Dangote involved in the NABMON meeting?
Johnson Olaniyi: Today, we are sponsoring the gathering together of the South East, South South and South West representatives of NABMON so that they can come together and decide on how they can add value to the real estate by way of producing quality blocks. What Dangote does is to ensure that the artisans are able to maintain high quality product by using Dangote cement.
So they are your partners who buy cement from you which they use for block moulding?
Yes. Before I came on this my platform, there was no umbrella body uniting the block makers and that is why some of them were producing low quality blocks. Since I came on board, we have been collaborating with them on the maintenance and sustenance of high quality blocks because it is when the block is of high quality, that is the only way through which we can address the collapse of buildings in Nigeria, and we are collaborating with Standard Organisation of Nigeria (SON) which is part of the regulatory body.
Today, SON is here and all the officers of NABMON are here; we are going to discuss with them one-on-one on how they are going to maintain high quality blocks and the only way they can do it is through the usage of Dangote Cement.
What kind of incentives are you giving to them to help them maintain high standards of their products?
We have been giving them a lot of incentives. We give them tools like wheel barrows, shovels, safety gears – including hand gloves, umbrellas and other promotional items. We have even extended some umbrellas to them in their sheds so that whenever they are working, they are going to be under that very big umbrella. And besides that, we do so many things for them. Even the promotion of N300 million cash gifts is targetted at the end users because they are the ones that are using the cement; they are the ones that will play the raffle draw.
How long has this partnership lasted?
This is the fourth year and during the last three years, we have covered virtually everywhere in Nigeria and actually taken all the state chairmen of the block makers to Obajana, where they were able to see how cement is being produced.
What have been the advantages of this partnership?
The advantages are numerous. We are talking of quality. Since we started, the issue of building collapse that was a daily occurrence has reduced in Nigeria because people now know that you just have to produce quality blocks. Since we started, we discovered that even people who are moulding blocks on their own now see the reason as to why they need to involve the professionals in the moulding of blocks and use of cement.
Are block moulders in Nigeria part of this group or are you still making efforts to bring them under the same umbrella?
The target today is to look at the entire South-South South, South-West and South-East and we want to bring them together, such that at the end of the day, we know that we have addressed this one, then the next one will be the North-East, North-Central and North-West. By then we will now have the entire country, talking to them in the same language, the language of the right usage of cement, which is Dangotte Cement, the language of high quality blocks, the language of reduction and elimination of collapse buildings.
Dangote is doing so much. Today, we just reduced our price. We want the product to be affordable to them; we want them to have access to the product. That is why today, the price has been slashed from N1,800 to N1,300 (plus) everywhere in Nigeria and that is what we are doing to make sure that they have access to the product because it is the only way through which we can actually encourage them to have high quality blocks.
How can you evaluate the importance of this partnership?
The evaluation is that everybody is now thinking and talking Dangote Cement, everybody is now perceiving that if you want the right quality blocks, you can only use Dangote Cement, everybody is now having the feel that they need to, because when you are successful, you are for everybody – when you are a failure, you are an orphan. So people are now teaming up with Dangote which they know that can only give the benefit of whatever they need in the industry.
•Photo shows Dangote Cement Regional Sales Director, Johnson Olaniyi.
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