Over a million workers in the cement sub sector of the nation’s economy may lose their jobs should the Federal government ‘s proposed plan to phase out 32.5grade cement sail through,the National Union of Chemical Footwear Rubber Leather and Non-Metallic Products Employees(NUCFRLNMPE)has said.
Giving a breakdown of the multiplier effects of the proposed plan on Wednesday in Lagos, the union alleged that about 15,616 direct workers in cement companies like West African PortLand Cement,Ashaka Cement,Sokoto cement company,PureChem and Unicem and Atlas cement company would be affected.
Specifically, the union through its national president,Boniface Isok alleged that the proposed ban of 32.5grade would be felt more in the Northern parts of Nigeria,where cases of building collapse were currently not being documented.
Addressing the media on the likely effects of the exercise on the already saturated labour market, Isok wondered why the proposed 42.5grade cannot co-exist with the present grades of cement in Nigeria.
The Federal government had recently disclosed plans to step up the nation’s cement grade to 42.5 with a view to arresting the spate of building collapse in the country.
Debunking allegations that the 32.5grade cement,which had been in existence for over 70years was responsible for building collapse, he said there are 27types of cement in the world serving different purposes.
“Cement type has nothing to do with building collapse rather than poor application, sites corruption that is evident in stealing and compromising,lack of technical know-how on the part of personnel on sites with respect to determining what reinforcement is required for a particular soil type and at a particular location,poor soil analysis and other human factors are the major reasons why building collapse is rampant in Nigeria nowadays”, Isok said.
According to him, the planned introduction of 42.5grade of cement solely for building and construction purposes was a subtle agenda to create monopoly, alleging that the proponents of the cement standardisation didn’t take several factors into consideration.
He explained that in order to upgrade existing cement plants in the country to produce the 42.5grades of cement, companies would require at least two years to effect the needed changes in production lines.
According to him,the implication of the development is that Lafarge cement,Sokoto cement and four other cement companies in the country will close shops while the upgrading lasts.
This, he said will result to scarcity of cement,high price,high demand,and importation of cement,unemployment,and delay in the ongoing construction works.
“Supporting 42.5type of cement as the only cement to be produced in Nigeria would mean that all on-going construction projects have
to be re-designed to conform to 42.5 type of cement. The wastage will be
‘’Why the fuss about 42.5type and not 52.5type and or any of other higher types. If 42.5type is superior type,then Nigeria should even go for 52.5type and or any other higher one. The fact is that the only cement manufacturer,who is unable to perfect the production of 32.5 type wants a domination of the market by frustrating others and insisting on 42.5 or higher cement grade’’.
To this end, he said organised labour would not tolerate job losses due to the proposed standardisation of cement by the Federal government.
( Courtesy Guardian & AGENCIES ……. Source …….. Our Freelance Contributor in Lagos)