The management of Dangote Cement has clarified its stand on the new cement standard as stipulated by the Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON), saying its position is purely motivated by the need to preserve the lives and property of Nigerians.
The company said it supported the new cement quality standard out of the conviction that it could help in stemming the tide of building collapse that has worsened of recent.
Even so, the company stressed that it is not the promoter of the classification as being insinuated by competitors.
Director of Dangote Cement, Mr. Ekanem Etim, told newsmen in Lagos: “It is only economic saboteurs and profiteers that would kick against the new standard for cement production as other countries of the world have moved up beyond the level and the low grade being canvassed by some of the manufacturers opposed to the new standard.”
Etim said the review and the classification was coming too late after the nation and its citizens have been subjected to the harrowing experience of loss of lives and properties and that the regulatory body should spare no further time to enforce the implementation of the new standard.
He said: “SON is not asking for anything out of this world, just switch. Though it might cost more, it is necessary in the interest of the people and the country. I wonder why a company which has been operating in the country for decades would find it difficult to switch to 42.5.”
Tracing the history of the classification as not being alien to cement manufacturers in the country, Etim noted that “the SON had always set 42.5 as the minimum standard when preponderance of consumption was being serviced with imports and all were importing 42.5 grade, with the little local production being 32.5 grade and now that production has been domesticated. What SON has only done is to extend the 42.5 to cover local production.”
According to him, the Technical Committee of the SON, comprising all stakeholders in the building and construction industry including all cement manufacturers, had in the wake of widespread protests against the collapse of structures across the country in which fingers were being pointed to the low quality of cement as being a key factor in the structure failures, met to review the existing standard.
Etim stated that Dangote Cement would not abandon the cause of the people because of name-calling by competitors. He pointed out that as the largest cement manufacturer in the country, Dangote owes the people a duty to give them quality product that will not wreck their lives and property.