Nigerians hoping to build houses in the near future and those in the construction industry have to now reconsider their plans in terms of cost.
This is as the economic crisis confronting the country worsened on Tuesday, as the price of cement rose by about 35 per cent from N1,600 to N2,300 in most parts of the country.
The sudden increase is seen by many in the construction industry as a stark reflection of the downward trend the economy in general, and the industry in particular has been experiencing.
The increase, according to industry insiders, may have been occasioned by increasing cost of production and the value of the naira against the dollar.
Speaking on the situation, 2nd Vice President, Nigeria Institute of Building (NIOB), Mr. Kunle Awobodu,noted, that the increase will have rippling effect on the construction industry, as it will lead to cost variation for projects and in some cases, abandonment may become the inevitable option.
He said: “Clients, contractors and quantity surveyors may have disagreements due to price variations. New price on old contracts in a competitive bidding may eventually lead to sub-standardisation in construction.”
Speaking in the same vein, a past President of the Nigerian Institute of Building (NIOB), Mr. Chuks Omeife, lamented that the latest hike in price was confusing.
“We don’t know what is going on here. We are confused because there is no explanation adduced for it,” he said, while also blaming the situation on Foreign exchange and the monopolistic nature of cement manufacturers in Nigeria.
Omeife also insisted that if the situation persists, housing projects are going to be delayed with increase in cost of delivering affordable units.
He said: “If the price increase in cement remains for a long time, it is going to compound the problems of affordable housing in the country because it will trickle down to block manufacturers and artisans.”
By Timothy Enietan-Matthews…
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