Localising Building Materials

NIA seeks investment in local building materials’ production

The Nigerian Institute of Architects says it is seeking to achieve total local production of hardware and components required in the building industry, particularly in upcoming mass housing projects to be developed across the country by private developers and the government.

The President, NIA, Mr. Tonye Braide, said at a meeting to announce the upcoming West Africa Architecture Festival being championed by the institute that it had become necessary to harness the country’s potential.

According to Braide, the current economic recession offers professionals an opportunity to look inwards and develop new strategies for growth.

He said, “With the economic depression that we are currently going through, the time has come for us to reorganise ourselves in the comity of nations. Nigeria stands in the South East zone of the West African sub-region. That is a very strategic place, if you look at the map of Africa, the shape is like a pistol and we are at the trigger, at a point where we can initiate change.

“We have for so long depended on oil and gas, which come from the Niger Delta and they have been fed into the global value chain and used to built a lot of economies across the world; but right now, we want to bring into full force the capacity that we have to be able to domesticate some of our industries, particularly architectural products.

“If you look at the finishing of most buildings, you find that a lot of products used are sourced from outside the shores of this country. We are about to embark on massive housing development to be able to meet up with the housing deficit; and to do this, we are saying that if we must meet up with issues of national development, we must be able to manufacture or at least domesticate the process.”

Braide said the WAAF 2016, which will hold in Port Harcourt, Rivers State from October 24 to 28, with the theme, ‘Harnessing the great African potential in global value chain’, would help professionals to establish an architectural value chain that would set a path towards rapid recovery from the current economic recession.

“As architects, we cannot quite get involved in manufacturing, but we are involved in building of houses. So, we say that the components and architectural instruments that endow these houses should be domesticated,” he said.

The festival is expected to feature the exhibition of architects and students’ works, building products, arts and crafts, and cultural displays, among others.

Renowned architects such as Demas Nwoko, Remment Luca Koolhaas and Diebedo Kere are also expected to speak at the festival.

Other speakers are the Catholic Bishop of Sokoto, Matthew Hassan-Kukah, Olisa Agbakoba, and political economist, Prof. Pat Utomi.
Braide said as part of the process of domesticating the production of building components, the NIA would promote the establishment of a light industrial park through its Rivers State chapter.

The Chairman, WAAF Planning Committee and Chairman of the NIA, Rivers Chapter, Mr. Emmanuel Dike, said activities such as the festival were needed now to boost economic growth.

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