Kingsley U.N. Chikwendu
A former Director-General/Chief Executive Officer of the Nigerian Building and Road Research Institute [NBBRI], Prof. Danladi. S. Matawal, yesterday said that the production of pozzolana can be used as a “partial replacement” for cement going by the incessant hike in price of cement. He also said that it will act as a means of controlling the rise in price since there will be an alternative to cement.
He made this known at the organized 10th NBBRI International Conference Series, themed Circular Economy in the Built Environment for Enhanced Performance of the Nigerian Construction Industry, in Abuja, the Nigerian capital.
Prof. Matawal stated that it is a very difficult thing when there are increases in the price of cement and other building materials. “It is a very difficult thing, he began. “We have problems in the prices of cement and it appears sometimes, there seem to be a shortage.
“Let me first of all say that on the problems of price and being a sole binder in the construction industry, the researchers in the country have a phenomenal effort, particularly, looking for options that are partial replacements of cement in the name of pozzolana and pozzolana plants, two of them were built by this institute [NBBRI], one in Ota, Ogun state and the other in Bokkos, Plateau State.
“Secondly, there are researches going on in the universities, trying to look at partial replacements, agro wastes, volcanic ash, I think we encourage Nigerians to patronize, to step up and try and bring down the prices of cement. This can be done.
Matawal also added that housing being important as it is, if prices of cements that are used to raise houses continue to jeopardize the efforts of NBBRI and others working to reducing the housing deficit in the country, it becomes unfortunate.
“Housing is very important and if prices of cement continue to jeopardize the efforts of people like Barr. Festus Adebayo, NBBRI and all the rest of them who are making efforts to address the over ten million housing shortage in Nigeria, then, it’s unfortunate.
“I think people who are solely in the cement manufacturing industry, we appeal to them – Dangote and Larfarge and others.
On the need for more manufacturers of cement to come up in the country, he said that cement is tied to raw materials, limestone primarily as a raw material and gypsum as an addictive which is a retarder.
Going further, he said that “if anybody is going to manufacture cement, then, of course, it is going to be located at a place where there are raw materials. If there is a survey in the country that has identified sources of raw materials, then, there is no reason why other investors should not go in. “But, I think what Nigeria is doing is encouraging its industrialist in the name of Aliko Dangote as well as Larfarge Group who are major employers of labour to participate as much as possible and you know that we are in a position to export cement all over Africa. So, no one wants to pull the carpet and major manufacturers but, there are investors, I think they should be encouraged”.