One of the stakeholders in the aluminium industry has applauded plans by the Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON) to review the standards for aluminium grade downwards.
A key stakeholder in the industry, Seun Olamide told journalists that the planned move by SON to review the standards would go a long way to drive local production and increase employment generation for the Nigeria’s teeming unemployed youths.
According to him, the sector was on the verge of collapse, but optimistic that with the intervention of SON, the industry would soon be back on stream.
‘‘We hope that the standard would be reviewed from 0.40mm to 0.30mm in order to salvage the ailing industry,’’ he said.
According to him, over the years, the timely intervention and efforts of SON have encouraged the industry to deploy backward integration strategy by setting up Cold Rolled Mills which they said have helped to save foreign exchange and increased direct and indirect employment in the country.
Olamide also stated that the much anticipated review of the standards downward would help Nigeria’s quest to industrialise.
He regretted that Nigeria has become a dumping ground for smuggled inferior aluminium colour coils.
Meanwhile, the standards body at a recent technical meeting with stakeholders in the galvanized roofing sheets to elaborate standards for Zinc, Aluminium and Magnesium coated steel sheet for general application said the agency has been inundated with complaints over the thickness and coating of galvanized steel sheets in the country, hence, the need to improve on the quality and thickness of aluminium.
He added that developing the aluminium industry remains imperative to the industrial sector especially at a time when the present administration has been diversifying the economy from hydro carbon resources, pointing out the need to make the sector attractive to both local and foreign investors.
Olamide pointed out that the unfair competition from foreign goods was also undermining the Nigerian aluminium industry growth as it has encouraged mass importation of the commodity into the country.
He therefore called on the federal government to encourage roofing sheets manufacturers through tax incentives to help them better compete and boost local production.
According to Olamide, there are also huge opportunities in the Nigerian economy as the roofers should be able to tap into the rapid urbanisation as a result of population explosion, upsurge in the demand for building materials and the new mortgage refinancing scheme by the federal mortgage authority to drive growth.
He added that Nigeria with a population over 170 million, and growing at a rate of 3.5 percent per annum, has a shortfall in the supply of housing units that has been estimated to be between 16 – 17 million.
‘‘Furthermore, with an economic growth rate averaging (seven) per cent per annum in the past five years, Nigeria has witnessed a growth in the number of middle-class families with the associated need to have a home of their own, thereby further deepening the real estate market in Nigeria, hence there are roofing needs. It should be noted that over 60 percent of the entire population of the country live on rented accommodation, and this indicates another embryonic market for the Nigerian roofers to exploit,’’ he said.
He said Nigeria has been one of the largest users of aluminium roofing sheets in the world, saying that in the industry, different thicknesses of aluminium are prevalent.