Amid escalating price of building materials and houses, indigenous producers in the housing industry have called on the Federal Government to ban importation of foreign building materials and associated products to ensure growth of local industries.
They argued that after 62 years of the nation’s independence, investors are yet to adopt local building materials in projects to meet housing demand in the market, while builders and estate developers could not depend on imported products due to the fluctuation in the foreign exchange market.
Speaking at this year’s Archibuilt Show in Abuja, the President, Nigerian Institute of Architects (NIA), Enyi Ben-Eboh, urged government to regulate and standardise indigenous products to forestall incidences of building collapse in the country.
Archibuilt is a yearly exhibition and forum organised to bring to the fore trends, technologies, systems, and policy issues that impact the building industry’s intervention and response to everyday living.
The forum provides a platform for organisers and participants alike, a platform for direct communication and value exchange between architects, consultants, contractors, developers, products and other service providers in the built environment.
Ben-Eboh also called for teamwork among professionals in the sector in the course of building construction, saying that architects are prime consultants in building process.
On building materials, he said: “We have identified cables, sand, cement, tiles, rods and others as meeting global standard. In Japan, the builders design structure to withstand earthquake in future, but in Nigeria, every infrastructure has a defect as result of professional interference in the sector.”
Contributing, Abubakar Isyaku of Cormart Nigeria Limited, urged government to encourage made-in- Nigeria products by banning building materials’ importation, adding: “if properly enforced, it can give us a greater drive and support for the patronage of indigenous products. Presently, there is no encouragement.”
“The importation of raw materials has slowed down the investment of locally made products, which has contributed to the devaluation of our currency. NIA is a good platform and it has offered us the opportunities to showcase Nigerian goods and services.”
According to Muhammed Rabiu of West African Ceramics Limited, the company utilises local resources and raw material to produce its tiles in Nigeria, which have saved Nigeria foreign currency in importing them and offered employment that would be lost to other countries.
“Our production in Nigeria will create jobs for Nigerians and enrich the local investors that buy the raw materials. In the government role, it has not been easy. But, the ban of foreign building materials, like tiles, will promote growth in the industry,” Rabiu said.
He also emphasised that manufacturers of local products have received support from relevant authorities, such as Standard Organisation of Nigeria (SON) and NIA, which has contributed to the development of the building material market.
In his view, Oliver Louis of BOSTIK, a France-based firm, expressed delight that Nigerians now can identify genuine products. “When people have challenge with their ceilings and toilets, we go to them to render services in Abuja and Lagos.
“We are now bringing in our raw material from outside Nigeria. We will soon establish factories, using trained engineers so that our goods and services will reach the West African sub region. Our customers want the firm to localise its products to save foreign exchange,” he said.