• Thursday, June 20, 2024
businessday logo

BusinessDay

Rivers told to create Nigeria’s building materials hub

Rivers told to create Nigeria’s building materials hub

…Mayor of Housing says it’s only way to close 28m deficit

A big opportunity is said to have appeared for Rivers or any other riverine state to create Nigeria’s building materials hub. If successfully created near a seaport, the building materials market has the potential to be made a free trade zone or a tax holiday zone that would attract foreign raw materials supplies especially from China.

According to the proponent of the project, the Mayor of Housing, My-ACE China, the hub would be a centre of very cheap building materials in West Africa.

The Mayor of Housing, who is the CEO of the Housing and Construction Mayor Limited, made the revelation in a live radio interview show on Super FM known as Point Blank hosted by Segun Owolabi.

Read also: Building collapse incidence seen increasing as input materials prices surge

He said the Rivers State can create an industrial park for building materials somewhere close to the waterways with a size of about 10 hectares. The government can create road to it, remove tax, give 24 power supply through gas power since there is the right to the states to do power.

He said to make the industrial park concept for building materials to work, the host government would need to sell power half the present price. “People from China and other places will flood the hub because they know power is cheap there. They know they will not pay tax.”

The Mayor of Housing noted that many steel industries are dead and the government has refused to privatise them. “Only few people are allowed in the cement sector. So, these cause huge rise in building materials and cost of housing. Rivers State can pursue this and become the hub for low-cost building material in Nigeria.”

He said that at the moment, everything in a house is imported.” He said the industrial park approach could be the best chance to crash the high cost of housing at the moment.

He also said that until building materials get local alternatives, houses would continue to be very expensive. He said some have estimated cost of putting up a two bedroom house for N38m.

Responding to questions and passionate appeals by home seekers, China admitted that the Rivers State government was subsidising 1000 houses of the 20,000 being built under a public private partnership scheme.

He said his soul is in making houses available to Nigerians but observed thus: “My heart was bleeding when this man was pleading for a chance to own a home. This has been my passion in real estate, and when I joined, we had about 20m housing deficit in Nigeria.

Read also: Mbaise building materials’ traders protest land-grabbing in Imo

“I am prepared to fight on because there is huge reward in it. The size of a problem determines the size of the reward from it. Right now, we started from the high-end which is easier to finance and to sell. We are the first company to engage the full services of a green architect, a minimalist architect, and we have research fellows in the UK and Turkey to see how we can do away with imported raw materials. What we can generate locally can compete with what we have such as using solar to burn clay and produce clay bricks so they are better and cheaper. The key things are to reduce the foreign raw materials to local ones; and reduce the structural density of a house.”