By Etuka Sunday
Chairman of Cement Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (CMAN), an arm of Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN), Engineer Joseph Makoju, as clarified that the 42.5 cement grade has more superior efficacy over and above the 42.5 grade saying the recent cement standardization by the regulatory authority was in the interest of Nigerians and Nigeria.
The technocrat, who was a former Managing Director of Lafarge Cement WAPCO, a cement manufacturer, was featuring at the Channels Television programme, Morning Ride, segment titled “Cement Standardization: Setting the Record Straight” said he was at the programme to clarify some issues as regards the standardization controversies.
Makoju debunked certain claims by a guest who featured at the programme, whom he accused of misrepresenting his submission at a public hearing conducted by the House of Representatives ad-hoc committee on cement pigmentation, during which he said all stakeholders bared their minds on the issue during the hearing the hearing.
Engineer Makoju, popularly called Mr. cement, clarified that while he was the CEO Lafarge Cement, between 1991 and September 18, 2000, the Company was producing the 42.5 grade of cement and not 32.5 as claimed by the guest and some others.
The CMAN Chairman, who stated that the cement issue had factionalized the membership of CMAN into two pointed out that there was no way the efficacy of a 42.5 grade can be compared to 32.5 and that claims that some sky scrapers and bridges built decades ago we’re built with 32.5 were incorrect.
Said he “many commentators on the issue of cement standardization are ignorant of the issues at stake, stakeholders particularly COREN at the House of Representatives hearing laid claim to certain facts which made me to intervene, especially on the issue of structures built with 42.5 cement grade but which are now being touted to have been built with 32.5 grade.
“I was Lafarge MD between 1991 and 2000, we were producing 42.5 then, they must have switched over to 32.5 at my exit”
He stated that while knowledge of application of cement is key, it will be grossly out of place to say cement is cement as some people have been arguing. “It’s like saying a 250 mg antibiotic capsule is the same as 500mg. Who does not know that 500mg is more efficacious with more strength”, Makoju maintained.
Makoju explained that there have been so many achievement recorded in the cement industry that should be celebrated but lamented that the unwarranted controversies on the standardization has taken the shine away. “More cement are being produced locally and we have moved the nation away from reliance on import and we even now export having met local consumption demand” Engineer Makoju, who is an honorary Adviser, to Aliko Dangote, the President of Dangote Group debunked the insinuation that the new cement standardization by the regulatory authorities was meant to create a monopoly for a cement manufacturer like Dangote Cement which produces over 65 percent of total production of cement in Nigeria.
According to him, many people shy away from investment in manufacturing and prefer business that can bring in quick money, but when they see someone like Dangote who continues to invest without
looking back, when it’s time for harvest, those of them who pulled out would be crying of monopoly.
He gave an instance of the Refining and Petrochemical business where lots of licenses were issued by government and all the company went to sleep until Dangote came up and began practical construction. “In the next five years now when begins production and invest more for expansion, those who collected license but did not do anything would be crying of monopoly.
That is Nigeria for you, at any event is anybody prevented from investing and expanding?. You have your choice, Dangite should be commended for his abiding faith inNigeria with his continuous investment. We need more like him in Nigeria”