Institute seeks ban on importation of construction materials

The Nigerian Building and Road Research Institute (NBRRI) has called on the Federal Government to enact a legislation banning importation of construction materials into the country.

Director-General of NBRRI, Prof. Samson Duna, made the call in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on the sidelines of the ongoing Innovation and Technology Expo in Abuja.

According to Duna, banning importation of foreign construction materials will promote use of indigenous materials in Nigeria.

“The federal government should either ban the importation of construction materials or impose high taxes on them so that people will not be able to afford them.

“Let’s look inward and patronise our own goods, thereby encouraging investors to develop indigenous products,” he stated.

Duna said NBRRI had successfully constructed a storey building, using bamboo instead of steel.

He also cited the institute’s numerous research projects as evidence of the potentials of indigenous materials.

Some of the research and development outputs by the institute, he said, included NBBRI dismountable house, compressed and stabilised earth blocks and pozzolana, an alternative to cement and bamboo as reinforcement.

“Others include: rubberised asphalt for road maintenance, natural bitumen mix design specification development for road construction, fancy facing tiles, paving stone-making machines and testing laboratories and equipment,” he said.

The director-general called on government to mandate all public schools across the country to use blocks produced by the institute, adding that this would serve as an incentive to NBRRI to increase production.

Highlighting the institute’s activities, Duna said that it had constructed a building within two days at the expo.

He noted that such rapid construction methods could benefit internally-displaced persons (IDPs) across the states, if properly harnessed.

Duna expressed concern over the country’s continued reliance on imported construction materials, warning that if this was allowed to continue, it could stagnate the development of indigenous building materials.

He acknowledged Nigeria’s abundant human and material resources, maintaining that harnessing indigenous materials could significantly boost the nation’s economy.

The director-general also spoke on the challenges of commercialising research outcomes in the country.

According to him, exhibitions like the innovation and technology expo will serve as platforms to showcase research findings and attract investors.

He also highlighted the institute’s research efforts in developing materials suitable for Nigeria’s climate, including advancements in building, road and construction materials.

NAN reports that NBBRI is a parastatal under the Federal Ministry of Innovation, Science and Technology.

It was established in 1978, with the mandate of building capacity and conducting applied integrated research and development into the various aspects of road, building and engineering materials for the development of Nigeria’s economy.

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