The impact of new standards on cement in Nigeria is reportedly quashing business confidence levels, according to an article in Business Day Online. The article states that the BCI Index, which measures confidence, fell 8% in 2Q14 following the SON directive to use cement with a strength rating of 32.5 for plastering only, 42.5 for casting columns, beams, slabs and for moulding blocks, and 52.5 for bridges. Producers were given 60 days to comply. Other investment factors may also have played a part in the decline.
The article quotes Lafarge CEO Joe Hudson, who said that the Standards Organisation of Nigeria did not properly discuss with stakeholders the changes to the standards, which provides a worrying precedent for other businesses entering the country.
Meanwhile, a group called Alliance Against Monopoly has reportedly issued the SON with an ultimatum to reverse its decision to give producers just 60 days to comply with the new standards. AllAfrica.com reports that the group is prepared to ‘seek legal redress’ should SON decline to revise the deadline.
The new standards have particularly affected Lafarge WAPCO, Ashaka Cement and UniCem, which produce large quantities of 32.5 grade cement, while Dangote Cement has been in full support of the switch and is already prepared to meet the new standards.
Edited from various sources by Katherine Guenioui
Read the article online at: https://www.worldcement.com/asia-pacific-rim/11082014/son-standard-change-damaging-business-confidence-269/