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Published On: Tue, Apr 15th, 2014

Experts, stakeholders blame resistance to cement standardisation on greed

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CementBy Etuka Sunday

Experts and stakeholder groups have attributed the stiff resistance to cement standardisation in the country to greed and exploitation.

The National President of Nigerian Block Makers Association, Alhaji Rasheed Adebowale, who made the statement at a stakeholders’ forum in Lagos, warned that, the insistence by some cement manufacturers in the country on producing lower grades of cement is driven by their desire to maximize their profits at the expense of the lives of Nigeria.

While absolving the block makers of being culpable for building collapse in the country, he urged all cement manufacturers to upgrade the quality of cement they produce from the lower 32.5 cadre to 42.5 grades, in the in the interest of safety of human lives.

Adebowale, who was a member of the technical committee set up by the Standards Organizations of Nigeria (SON) to review cement standards in the country, urged the government and other stakeholders to move beyond rhetoric and unnecessary politicking by coming out with a definitive upgraded standard for cement in the country.

“42.5 cement grade had long been the accepted cement grades in the country but about 10 years ago, standards seem to have dropped to 32.5 grades and incidentally some of the worst cases of building collapse in the country had happened in the last decade, therefore underscoring the importance of re- establishing 42.5 as the minimum acceptable standard of cement in the country”

Also speaking at the forum, the Lagos State Chairman of the Block makers Association, Alhaji Okunola Abegunde, loathed the idea of placing the responsibility of failed structures in the country on block makers. He said a lot of technicalities are involved in the construction of building and in order to avoid the incidence of building collapse, he urged regulators to manage the quality of inputs from manufacturers all the way to the ordinary builders at construction sites.

He noted that the good place to start the prevention of building collapse in the country is for the government to officially recognize the higher 42.5 cement grades as the acceptable standard in the country.

In his presentation, the Group Managing Director of Dangote Cement, DVG Edwin said, “There is a lot of misinformation going on in the country. A lot of these unscrupulous operators try to state that a lower 32.5 cement grades give higher strength than the higher 42.5 grades. This is ridiculous and laughable. There is nowhere in the world where a higher quality and a higher grades product will perform less than a lower quality product. The issue of 32.5 and 42.5 grades of cement is a scientific issue and it can be quantitatively measured, leaving no room for doubts or confusions over which products gives more strength than the other.”

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