By Iyke Obi Durumba
The Nigeria housing construction and manufacturing sector recently received a big boost as Fibre Cement Board, an innovative building material, is now manufactured in Nigeria by the New Material Nigeria Ltd, a company which is part of the Sinoma/CNBM group a fortune 500 company with headquarters in Beijing China.
Addressing journalists during a new product news briefing, Managing Director of the company, Jackie Hui said New Material Nigeria Ltd, recently opened its factory in Abuja, its first outside China and is already producing Fibre Cement Boards of global standards.
Cement Fibre Boards are composite boards made of cement, fibers and sand used in external walls and internal partitioning.
Speaking on the cost benefits of using Fibre Cement Boards, Hui said it saves material and manpower costs and reflects positively on duration of project delivery. “You save cost. For example, this building, maybe we spend one year, two years to finish this building but using our Fibre Cement Board for partition, you can complete all the building in three months. You save the human resource, you save the cement, you save the block and most importantly, you protect the environment. It’s green and better than block”
Conducting journalists around the factory, he noted that the premises had the most up to date measures for industrial safety and had passed fire safety tests by the Federal Fire Service. With industrial equipment and installed production capacity of 5 million square meters of Fibre Cement Boards per year, the factory employs 119 Nigerians at various levels.
Dai Hui said the factory also sources its raw materials locally. “Yeah, we source locally. That’s why we have confidence to grow and stay in Nigeria. For instance, last month we were able to locate a source for one of our materials, paper pulp, from Kano. For the cement, we use Lafarge, Dangote and Bua. The other is quartz sand, and stones, we source all locally.”
Nigeria’s housing sector has a deficit of at least 20m units and experts have suggested several cost effective measures aimed at bridging the gap. With superior emphasis on strength, sound and fire proofing qualities, the local demand for Fibre Cement Boards in Nigeria has spiked.
The $50m New Material Nigeria factory meets this demand. However, Dai Hui says this is just a beginning as another factory is planned for Lagos in the near future.
Also expressing a desire to be part of Nigeria’s export-oriented industrial development, Dai Hui said the future is bright as the company plans to use Nigeria as manufacturing hub for export of Fibre Cement Boards to the entire West African region. “With the support from the Nigerian people, we can expand and so Nigeria can be hub of exportation to the whole ECOWAS, he said.