Bernice Larryoboh

The Association of Builders and Construction Professionals has expressed admiration for the Minister of Works, David Umahi, for his stance on the use of cement in road construction.

The association, in a joint statement released on Sunday, September 24, 2023, deemed this decision as a positive step towards improving the quality of infrastructure in the country and praised the utilization of cement in road construction as a means to enhance durability and longevity of the roads.

However, the association also cautioned against overlooking the supply side of cement production as they emphasized the importance of addressing any potential issues in the supply chain, highlighting that failure to do so could impede the anticipated reduction in cement prices.

Proffering solutions, cement producers urged the government to emphasise road designs that allow both cement technology and asphalt pavement to run concurrently as well as to conclude the backward integration policy of the late Yar’adua‘s administration.

The statement read in part, “Our findings from various parts of the country show that cement sells for as high as N6000 per bag in the rainy season. Our prediction is that it will sell for over N9,000 per bag in the dry season, especially with the pronouncement of the Honourable Minister of Works on cement technology and the marching order on housing by Mr President if the government does not take proactive steps.

“While we commend the Honourable Minister’s position on cement-made roads, we warn of the dire consequences if the supply end is not properly addressed. In fact, it would amount to dereliction of duty not to intervene. And the time is now. To do otherwise is to continue in a worsening pipe dream that prices would suddenly drop on this essential input that will continue to drain the purse of Nigerians, render them homeless, encourage chaos between demand and supply, and worsen the infrastructure deficit it sets out to cure, and lead to an unprecedented price hike.

“We also call on the Honourable Minister of Works to lay more emphasis on the design criteria of roads that allow both cement technology and Asphalt pavement to run concurrently, in turn, will provide ample time for a smooth transition that allows contractors to invest in commensurate and requisite equipment and retooling.

“We must also as a nation regulate static and dynamic load traffic by introducing weighbridges at access points on our highways.”