Posted by News Express | 7 July 2014 | 4,097 times
Nigeria’s major cement manufacturers have thrown their weight behind the position of the House Representatives that the 42.5mpa cement grade should be the minimum standard to be produced for general building and construction in the country, while all expired cement should be withdrawn forthwith from the market.
BUA, Dangote and Ibeto all stated that long before the quality review by the Standard Organisation of Nigeria (SON) which pegged the 42.5mpa grade as the minimum standard for general purpose use, they were already producing that grade as their minimum quality.
In a report submitted last week, the House of Representatives Ad-hoc Committee on Cement Composition and Pigmentation had asked SON to commence implementation of the new cement standardisation. It also said that manufacturers should retool their machineries for the production of the higher grade of cement.
The committee, which held a public hearing before arriving at its recommendations, said the report was based on the fact that if offered the chance to choose between 32.5 and 42.5 grades of cement, consumers would choose the 42.5 higher grade. It added that because those often employed for building are mostly non-professionals, it would be in the national interest to adopt a cement grade that is less susceptible to wrong application.
The committee further 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.
Chairman of BUA Cement, Abdulsamad Rabiu, said after a meeting in Lagos weekend that what the House of Reps had done was patriotic and it should be supported by all manufacturers with the safety and well-being of the people at heart.
According to him, BUA, which operates the oldest cement plant in Nigeria, the Cement Company of Northern Nigeria (CCNN), has been producing the higher grade of cement right from the outset. He said that his company sees nothing wrong with the Reps’ decision.
“As a responsible corporate entity with the interest of the nation and its people at heart, we value the lives of our people more than profit, and therefore supports our lawmakers,” Rabiu said.
He explained that what cement manufacturers and indeed other stakeholders should do is to cooperate with the SON as the regulating authority so that the menace of structural failure could abate.
“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. Most companies import lower quality. Our prices are also competitive within the industry and our delivery process is excellent,” Rabiu stated.
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. He noted 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.
Corroborating the lawmakers, Edwin stated that the 42.5 grade of cement was the minimum standard to be produced in the best interest of the country, given that most builders are non-professionals who know little or nothing about the right application of cement as a key component of construction.
He said: “I say this because, with the strength of the 42.5, it will be less susceptible to wrong application and therefore saves the people the hassles of how best to apply cement. Anything contrary to promotion of 42.5 as the better grade by any manufacturer could only be motivated by profit.
“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.
“As a responsible and patriotic corporate citizen with the interest of Nigerians as our primary concern, we state our unreserved support for the new cement standards especially as this will help to further improve safety in the Nigerian building and construction industry.”
On its part, Ibeto Cement had in a recent advertorial published in national newspapers across the country announced its compliance with the production of the 42.5 cement grade as the minimum standard.
•Photo shows BUA Cement Chairman, Abdulsamad Rabiu.
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