In recent times, there has been increase in the cost of building materials in the country. The development poses great threat to construction of houses for residential and other purposes. Radio Nigeria correspondent visited some building materials markets in Anambra State to find out how the increase in price was affecting the traders.
Some of them in an interview blamed the situation on high exchange rate and cost of transportation. Materials such as cement, rod, wood, nail and block were all affected by the hike. For some months now, there has been astronomical increase in the prices of the materials forcing many property developers to abandon their project sites with many artisans out of job.
The visit to different building materials markets in major towns in the State shows a common trend in the prices of the materials with some of them rising virtually on daily basis. A bag of cement which was sold at one thousand, three hundred naira last year had gone as high as two thousand, five hundred naira.
Wood previously sold at eight hundred naira now goes for one thousand, two hundred naira. Four inches Niger pipe is now one thousand, six hundred and fifty naira as against nine hundred and eighty, it sold before. While speaking on the development, a trader in the building materials market in Onitsha, Mr James Okechi said they were experiencing low patronage due to the hike in the prices of the goods, stressing that people now go for low quality ones.
“The prices of all these things as at last year was somehow cheaper but have increased. ‘’
Another trader, Mr Chike Eze who sells floor tiles attributed the cause of the problem to the high exchange rate of the foreign currency.
“What we need now, the dollar and Euro issue should come down, once they come down, I think business will move on.”
Also contributing to the issue, Mr Vincent Aneke who is also a trader, blamed the situation on high import duties paid in clearing the goods.
“Like WC, last year we sold nine thousand, five hundred naira but this year, is eleven thousand”.
Our microphone got to an Engineer at a building site, Mr Azuka Okeke who complained bitterly that people no longer build houses like before due to the high cost of the materials. He said that it was only the price of sand that had remained the same, between eight thousand and eight thousand, five hundred naira.
“The cost of building a house now is so high, normally about four years ago, an average upstairs will cost about twenty million but now, we will be talking about thirty million naira”.
Analysts say there is need for the government to urgently address the problem of high cost of building materials to make its dream of providing houses for the citizens realizable.