In a concerted effort aimed at stemming the spate of building collapse in the country, leading cement manufacturer, Dangote Cement Plc has put in place plans to establish a Block Moulders Academy.
The Academy, according to the Company, would be structured and equipped to support the seamless transfer of requisite skills to block makers and artisans in the real estate sector of the economy.
Speaking at the Dangote Special Day at the just concluded Africa International Housing Show in Abuja (AIHS), Dangote Cement’s National Sales Director, Mrs. Fumi Sanni said the Academy has become necessary as most of the artisans and block makers are aging, while young men are not enthusiastic about the profession.
She said one of the sure ways of reducing the phenomenon of building collapse is to check quackery, while imparting the needed skills to the block makers and artisans.
According to her, the company was also ready to support the block makers who will pass through the Academy with machineries and tools.
As part of the effort to ensuring cement availability, Mrs. Sanni said the company has built over a hundred cement depots across the country.
Speaking earlier, Dangote Cement Group’s Head, Sales and Marketing Mr. Rabiu Umar said Dangote Cement has contributed enormously to development of the real estate sector through massive investments in cement that has made the product sufficiently available.
“Over twenty years ago, we were importing cement, today, we are exporting cement,” Mr. Umar said.
He identified rapid urbanization, high cost of land acquisition, rising cost of construction materials, lack of basic infrastructure, inaccurate housing demographics, poor funding/lack of access to affordable finance and inadequate policies as some of the factors affecting the provision of housing in Nigeria.
Said he: “Towards helping to address housing shortages, Dangote Cement set up a department whose focus is to attend to the challenges and needs of real estate development in our market. The idea is to engage in project partnerships, collaborations, and participation in Real Estate development initiative in Nigeria.
“Part of our efforts towards ameliorating the housing shortage is by constructing large cement plants in Nigeria and many African countries. These plants ensure that the basic raw material in the housing sector, cement, is readily available in sufficient quantities.
“We have a dedicated fleet of trucks to deliver both bagged and bulk cement to customers and construction sites. We have established depots near all major markets, therefore bridging the distance between the plants and distributors.”
The company’s Head, Technical Sales Mr. Aniki Adeize Ayodeji said the company currently trains the artisan on the right mix.
Meanwhile, the Federal Government has been urged to collaborate with the Dangote Cement Plc to mitigate the housing deficit in Nigeria.
Speaking on the sideline of the Housing Show, the Coordinator, Bar. Festus Adebayo appealed to the President of the Dangote Group Alhaji Aliko Dangote to intervene in the massive housing deficit bedeviling Nigeria.
“If the Federal Government can partner with the Dangote Group in the area of road construction, why would it not partner with it to mitigate the housing deficit in the country? People tend to take housing for granted but it is one of the primary needs of man that can affect our life and health, and the stability of a nation,” Bar. Adebayo said.
He said it is apparent that government alone cannot do it, he therefore advocated for a Public Private partnership (PPP).
“I am aware of the long stretch of rigid pavement constructed by the Dangote Group in Kogi through the PPP. Same can be replicated in the housing sector,” he added.
He said Dangote is a Platinum sponsor of the housing fair that brought together virtually all the big names in real estate development in Africa.
He also bemoaned the lack of data to ascertain the housing deficit in the country.
Mr. Adebayo therefore urged the private sector to consider using housing as part of their Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR).
“The Africa International Housing Show is Africa’s biggest housing and construction expo, a forum that brings together all real estate stakeholders to discuss and explore ideas to promote Africa’s housing industry to the international market.”
Co-founder, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation recently visited top management of Dangote Industries Ltd in Lagos.
L-R: Group Managing Director, Dangote Industries Limited, Olakunle Alake; Group Executive Director, Commercial, Dangote Industries Limited, Fatima Aliko-Dangote; Co-Founder, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Bill Gates; Chairman, Aliko Dangote Foundation, Aliko Dangote and Group Executive Director, Strategy, Capital Projects & Portfolio Development, Dangote Industries Limited, Devakumar Edwin during Bill Gates visit to Dangote Head Office, Ikoyi Lagos.