ABUJA- Dr Bayo Akinnola, Chairman, Lafarge Cement has called for a ban on the importation of cement.
Akinnola, who made the call in Abuja in an interview with newsmen, said that the importation was killing the local cement industry.
Akinnola, participating in the First Annual Conference on Affordable Homes for All and Mortgage Banking in Nigeria, organised by the Ministry of Finance, observed that cement was a major factor in building houses.
He said that high cost of building materials, especially cement,was militating against government’s efforts to provide affordable houses for all.
“The only way the cement industry can grow locally is for government to introduce incentives for local producers to expand and thus bring the price down,” he said.
According to him, while government should ban the importation of cement, it should allow a tax-free importation of raw materials for the local production of cement.
“If any company wants to sell cement in Nigeria, it should be asked to produce it here and not to import finished product.
“By producing locally, the company will not only provide employment for Nigerians but also expand the industry and compete favourably with other producers.
“We are not afraid of competition, we want it so that the industry can grow in Nigeria and thus bring down the prices of cement.” he added.
Akinnola stressed that if government took the step. it would facilitate the effort to provide affordable houses for all.