FG to meet cement, building material manufacturers over rising prices

The Minister of Housing and Urban Development, Architect Ahmed Musa Dangiwa, Thursday, said the Federal Government has perfected plans to meet with manufacturers of Cement and other building materials in the country.

This,  he said,  was to stem the incessant rising cost of cement and other building materials and enhance the delivery of affordable housing in Nigeria. 

A statement issued by the Special Adviser on Media to the minister,  Mark Chieshe,  in Abuja,  said Dangiwa stated these during a courtesy call by a delegation of the Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria (FMBN), Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Trade Union Congress (TUC), and the Nigeria Employers Consultative Association (NECA) to his office.

He queried the recurring disproportionate increase in the price of cement in particular, especially considering that cement producers in the country source virtually all their raw materials locally.

“It is disheartening to see how much Nigerians have to pay for essential building commodities like cement, with the prices rising almost daily. I don’t understand the reason for this increase, and it is not acceptable.

“I am going to be meeting with these manufacturers soon so that they can explain to Nigerians their reasons for such incessant hikes. I know that the cement producers source their raw materials in Nigeria; timestone, clay, silica sand, gypsum, iron ore, and the rest. These minerals abound in Nigeria and these manufacturers get them here, so there is no justification to try and blame it all on the rise of the dollar”, he said.

Dangiwa also assured the delegation of the commitment of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s administration to providing decent and affordable shelter and liveable communities to low- and medium-income earners, as well as the vulnerable in society. He said this also involves creating a conducive environment for the private sector to thrive, including ensuring building materials are affordable and accessible.

Recall that the Ministry in January inaugurated the Building Materials Reform Task Team as part of efforts to develop the building materials industry through the creation of Building Materials Manufacturing Hubs in each of the six (6) geopolitical zones of the country.

The minister said while the hubs are yet to come on stream, there is a need to continue to interface with players in the industry such as building materials manufacturers in a bid to promote affordability.

Speaking on the partnership between the FMBN and Organised Labour, Dangiwa emphasised the need for the FMBN to reform and innovate its operations, calling on the NLC, TUC, and NECA to see the Bank and the National Housing Fund (NHF) Scheme as their own that they must encourage and support the institution to do better towards delivering decent shelter to their members.

“The truth is that despite FMBN’s inadequacies, which we are working to address, there is no other home ownership platform that can provide housing to the segment of Nigerians whom you represent at the terms and conditions that the FMBN provides.

“From the single-digit interest rate on loans ranging from 6 – 7 percent versus the commercial rates of 18-24 percent in commercial housing loans, to long tenors of 30-years versus 5-to-10-year commercial tenors, zero to maximum 10 percent equity versus 30 percent equity for commercial loans, FMBN is an institution that requires the support of all stakeholders so that it works. There is no alternative”, he said.

He noted that a key priority of Tinubu’s administration is the reform of all federal housing agencies under the supervision of the ministry, clearly demonstrated by the inauguration of the Housing Institutions Reform Task Team under the Chairmanship of Mr. Adedeji Adesemoye with representatives from other stakeholders.

The team, he said, will review and facilitate necessary legislative amendments of relevant housing industry laws, including those of the NHF Act, 1992, and the FMBN Establishment Act, 1993.