Surveyors task cement manufacturers on price slash
• Say high cost affecting housing development
President, the Nigerian Institute of Quantity Surveyors (NIQS), Mohammed Abba Tor, has said that the rising cost of cement in the country is affecting housing development, and urged the Federal government to engage the Association of Cement Manufacturers to address the situation.
He also urged the manufacturers to consider a reduction in the price of cement beyond the Economic Sustainability Plan (ESP) scheme to the benefit of the entire citizenry.
Briefing journalists on the movement of the Institute to its newly built headquarters in Abuja, Tor noted that cement has a multiplier effect on other components of building construction, and the rising cost if not addressed, would affect efforts being made to provide affordable houses for the lower strata of the society.
The NIQS President also called on the government to holistically look at the inflationary effect on cost of building materials and provide concessions to local manufacturers of building materials in order to provide employment for the youths and bring down the cost of building materials in the country.
He said: “The exchange rate is impacting negatively on the cost of engineering projects. The Government should engage the cement manufacturers further with a view to extending the discount to other areas. There should be some deliberate efforts by the government to encourage the manufacturing of building materials in the country. Covid-19 came with a lot of challenges, our production rate at building sites are encumbered and limited, theby affecting the delivery of ongoing projects.”
Tor observed that the Institute is trying to reduce the negative effects of Covid-19 by embracing emerging technologies and online platforms, adding that the issue of building collapse requires a united front from all the professional bodies.
He said: “Clients should engage the services of qualified engineers because in most cases of building collapses, it is difficult to find any registered engineers involved, but we have a template for sanctioning our members involved.”
He commended the Federal Government for embarking on the construction of 300,000 social housing units across the country under the Economic Sustainability Plan (ESP).
Tor also said the NIQS is at the forefront of advocating a people-oriented programme and recalled that during the Institute’s visit to President Muhammadu Buhari on March 23rd, 2019, the need for a government-driven Social Housing Scheme was among the Institute’s key recommendations towards ensuring that Nigerians benefit from the dividends of democracy.
He continued, “NIQS and its members remain committed to partnering with the Government in providing cost management services of developmental projects for the benefit of our teeming populace. We applaud Mr. President and cabinet ministers for having listening ears and eventually launching this enviable scheme. As emphasized during the visit under reference, low income earners in both public and private sectors can take advantage of the programme and have roofs over their heads. It is heart-warming that cement manufacturers have agreed to offer the product at discounted prices in support of the scheme.
“In addition to meeting the job creation objective stated in the ESP, the scheme will stimulate economic activities such as production and supply of local building materials, engagement of professionals, training opportunities and apprenticeship, stimulation of SME businesses such as food vendors and other numerous impacts along the construction value chain, while the scheme last.”