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Dealers urge government to tackle substandard building materials

By Victor Gbonegun
30 September 2019   |   4:17 am
Amid increasing cases of building collapse, dealers of construction-based products have urged the Federal Government to strengthen implementation of existing policies...

Iron rod building materials

Amid increasing cases of building collapse, dealers of construction-based products have urged the Federal Government to strengthen implementation of existing policies and guidelines regulating importation of substandard products into the country.

They argued that the circulation of substandard products in the market has worsened, hence the need for government to fish out the bad eggs in the sector.

President of Coker building materials and allied products dealers association, Mazi Justin Okpani who raised the issue on the sidelines of the association 40th anniversary in Lagos said, although the building and plumbing material market is a lucrative business but the greatest problem encountered by the operators is low turn over as a result of poor economic situation in Nigeria.

He said, “Some of the substandard products brought to Nigeria are from Chinese companies and they have a way of beating government agencies. So when they now bring it at a relatively cheap cost, it would fall back on those who import standard and quality products. The competition is so severe but those who value quality still patronize us.

“There are policy and rules guiding importation of fake building products however, the greatest problem is implementation. If government could step up its enforcement, government would be able to curtail inflow of substandard building materials into the country.”

He called on the government to cut the cost of clearing goods, which is observed was too high compared to what it used to be in the past while measures should be put in place to reduce the cost and the time of clearing goods.

“It takes an average of a month to bring goods from the Wharf and that is not suppose to be the case. A week is enough to bring in goods. The road to the Apapa Wharf is not really friendly and our containers fall down every time due to bad road. The government needs to reduce the tariff and give incentives to those that are bringing good into the country, especially those that have to do with agriculture like water pump and fire-fighting equipment. The import duties on such sensitive items should be reduced.”

Okpani said operators must be made to register their goods and products registered with the Standard Organization of Nigeria and NAFDAC to guide against infiltration of adulterated products into the market.

“Though, you can’t beat them because what they do is that the bad goods are often off loaded outside of the market because existing task force department of association doesn’t tolerate such.”

He stressed the need to educate Nigerians to stop patronizing fake materials which are often sell out at cheaper rate, adding that such products complicates the rate of building collapse in Nigeria.

“This vision encouraged the founders to establish new market frontiers in Odun Ade-Ade market, Agric coker market, fire and equipment market and the marble market in Ifelodun and Orile Iganmu areas”

Speaking with The Guardian, a member of the association, Chief Michael Ugokwe also urged the government to intervene by blacklisting those bringing materials illegally to the country.

Ugokwe also advised the government to be liberal in spending on capital projects to help the middle class and the low class investors to patronize the market because is the highest spender and improving it’s spending would cut across all strata of the Nigerian economy.