The Anambra State Aluminum Manufacturers Association (ASAMA) has called on the Federal Government to address the increasing cost of aluminum roofing products.
Chairman of the association Emeka Maluze made the call while speaking in an interview in Awka on Friday.
Maluze, who is the Managing Director, Quality Aluminum and Steel Manufacturing Limited, Onitsha blamed the situation on over-dependence on importation.
He said the cost of production, especially electricity, had led to the shutting down of most local firms thus turning them into mere importing and trading companies.
According to Maluze, the issue of the high price of aluminum products is a Nigerian issue due to the total collapse of the Naira, in relation to foreign currencies.
“ASCON in Calabar produces a reasonable quantity of aluminum materials but they are exported, recycled, or repackaged and imported back because we are specialists in consumption of imported products.
“Aluminum products consumed in Nigeria are predominantly imported while we export the raw materials.
“Even if we want to venture into full-time production at our levels, the cost of production will drive the price further higher.
“This is because of high electricity cost and high exchange rate for importation of foreign-sourced raw materials,” he said.
The ASAMA chairman said indigenous manufacturers should be supported to enable them to add value to their process and make Nigeria contribute significantly to the supply side of the market.
Maluze said this was better than sending ingots abroad and later importing them at a high cost.
He said that though he could not quantify the quantity of imported aluminum roofing products in percentage terms, almost all the aluminum products consumed in Nigeria were imported.
Maluze noted that Nigeria had the capacity to satisfy local demands and export to other countries if conscious efforts were made to address the challenges in the sector.
“During one of my journeys to China, I got to a particular country where I source products from and I saw about 80 trailer loads of aluminum ingots.
“And when asked what was happening, the purchasing manager of the company said they just arrived from Nigeria.
“That was in 2007, the man told me Nigerians don’t like consuming directly from their plates, they prefer sending it out, bringing it back and serving it as imported,” he said.
Maluze said the association was working assiduously with the Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON) to sanitise the aluminum roofing products’ market and ensure that customers and genuine dealers were protected.
“As an association, we are engaged in constant self-sanitising, we are fighting importation and distribution of fake and substandard products with all seriousness in collaboration with SON.
“Periodically, we sit and identify members who are involved in sharp practices and report them to SON for appropriate sanctions. We are just an association, we don’t have the power to arrest,” he said.