FG sources building materials, to save N2trn every year

Jhe federal government is set to launch local production of building and construction materials as part of measures to reduce the import of building materials which amounts to 2 trillion naira per year.

The Managing Director of the Commodities Research and Development Council (RMRDC), Prof. Hussaini Doko Ibrahim, revealed this in a document released by the council.

According to the document, the building and construction industry faces several challenges and about 60% of the total cost of a construction project is spent on materials.

The document shows that the majority of electrical, roofing, window, sanitary, plumbing, etc. are mostly imported, with only a few notable ones made domestically.

Daily Trust reports that building material costs have increased significantly. For example, a bag of cement, which was 1,350 Ν in 2006, increased to 1,850 Ν in 2009, an increase of about 37%. The price increased to N2,000 in 2012. This year 2022, the cost of cement is N4,000 per bag; an increase of 100% compared to 2012.

These developments have multiplier effects on the industry, which in some cases lead to the non-completion of many projects.

But the federal government, through the RMRDC, noted that one of the main ways the country could reduce the high cost of conventional building materials such as concrete, cement and steel was to promote the use of alternative materials.

Globally, the RMRDC said that solid waste generated in large quantities is now being used to fully or partially replace conventional materials in many developed countries.

The RMRDC document reads in part: “For example, ashes from industrial and agricultural waste such as fly ash and rice husk ash are used as pozzolan to partially replace cement in the production of concrete.

“This initiative is promoted because the production of cement and steel has significant environmental consequences.

According to the document, based on research conducted by the RMRDC, limestone is now used for finishing buildings in Nigeria, and that the council has also developed alkyd resin from local sources for the production of paints.

The document further reads: “One of the main problems limiting the use of locally available timber in the building and construction sector is that processors have difficulty in drying it to around 12% moisture content or less. . This problem has largely been solved by the development of wood drying kilns by the RMRDC in collaboration with the Scientific Equipment Development Institute (SEDI), Enugu, and Palcon Nigeria Limited, also based in Enugu. The council conducted a study on the availability and use of bamboo in Nigeria. The study indicates that despite the wide availability of bamboo in the country, it is not significantly processed at the industrial level. As a result, the council is collaborating with private sector investors to produce bamboo walls and tiles. »

RMRDC is currently collaborating with New Materials Nigeria Company Limited, a member of China National Building Materials Group (CNBM) 100% owned by the Chinese government, which has introduced an innovative new building material known as fiber cement board in the Nigerian market. . This makes Nigeria the first country outside of China where an alternative to plasterboard is being manufactured.

More recently, the council has collaborated with Ifrique Eco Solutions to produce eco-friendly interlocking tiles. Tiles are made from low-density polyethylene (LDPE), such as sewage bags, garbage bags, packaging plastics, and almost any other polyethylene bag. They can also be made from polyethylene terephthalate (PET) or plastic bottles.

Additionally, RMRDC is working with Ifrique Eco Solutions on recycling discarded PET bottles into building bricks. This, the council said, would also help create more than 50,000 direct and indirect jobs in addition to keeping the environment clean.

Professor Ibrahim said these initiatives would significantly reduce the price of raw building materials in Nigeria and also save the nation more than N2tn on an annual basis in foreign exchange (forex) if the projects were commercialized.

But a construction expert, Toyin Ajayi, warned that for these initiatives to be sustained and sustained, the government must urgently create appropriate means for the delineation and implementation of research findings.

He added that there was a need for a policy that would enhance private sector participation in the commercialization of these research efforts, noting that this would significantly reduce the cost of local construction and construction.