MAN President, Kola Jamodu
By Crusoe Osagie
Nigerian manufacturers of roofing sheets have cried out over the preponderance of substandard roofing sheets from neighbouring ECOWAS countries, now edging out higher quality local products from the Nigerian market.
THISDAY gathered that local manufacturers of roofing sheets were losing market share due to the fact that these low quality roofing materials allegedly flowing from neighbouring ECOWAS countries were sold at a much lower price.
According to local operators, the competing brands were majorly coming from other countries in the Economic Community of West African State (ECOWAS) with roofing sheet grades lower than what was acceptable in the country.
Responding to the issue, the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN) has urged the Federal Government not to succumb to the pressure by selfish industrialists to drop the quality of roofing sheet acceptable in the country.
MAN President, Chief Kola Jamodu, therefore urged the Federal Government to fast-track the implementation of the reviewed gauges for galvanised roofing sheets to enable the sector maximise its potential and boost trade and employment in the country.
He said his call was in tandem with MAN stakeholders’ review meeting, which considered the gauge levels in Nigeria, against what was tenable in other neighbouring countries that are competing in the same market with Nigeria.
Jamodu noted that the size ranged between 0.12 in Ghana, and much more lower in other ECOWAS countries, adding that such disparity is robbing the country of this strategic sector’s contribution to the nation' s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
He noted that galvanized roofing sheets produced in Nigerian faced strong competition in the face of cheaper and lower grade sheets from other countries within the region.
Operators said the current disparity between Nigerian products and those of other ECOWAS neighbours was encouraging smuggling and had constituted a threat to the realisation of the Federal Government’s economic agenda in the area of wealth and job creation.
However, a technical committee has meet in accordance with the procedures for ratification of standards and fixed the standard gauges at 0.15mm, 0.18mm and 0.20 mm saying the development would boost access to the products and efforts to achieve affordable housing.
Some experts maintained that the quality of the roofing sheets was measured in terms of corrosion, resistance and discoloration in addition the product’s resistance to wind and rain.
Also they said, additional weights of up to 650 grams or more offer no appreciable benefits in high winds and rain when compared to properly installed but thinner roofing sheets.
They argued that with the ECOWAS Trade Liberalisation Scheme (ETLS), thicknesses higher than what came from other competing countries would only leave Nigeria as loser, and make Nigerian companies manufacturing the product very vulnerable.
The experts said galvanised roofing sheet swere basically consumed and patronised by the lower income group hence a minimum thickness of 0.15, while higher thickness range of 0.18, 0.20m among others would accommodate the different income levels in the country.