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Dangote Cooperative to diversify into real estate, banking, others

As part of efforts to raise its revenue profile the management and board of the Dangote Group Staff Multipurpose Cooperative Society Limited (DANCOOPS) has set machinery in motion to diversify into real estate, micro credit and loans, among other business ventures.

Making this disclosure at the weekend was the President of the Society, Comrade Afolabi Kamoru. He spoke in Lagos at the Society’s 10th Annual General Meeting.

Kamoru, while giving account of his stewardship in the last two years, said his executive team has been able to change the fortunes of its members thus far from a humble beginning.

Specifically, he said: “As big as the Society is, we just secured, renovated and furnished an office space and within a short period we have been able to perfect a few things for the Society. Aside from that, we have a landed property in Mowe, with construction about to start.”
At the end of the financial year, ended December 31st, 2016, the DANCOOPS boss said, “The Society closed its books with surplus figure of N122, 369, 545, 43, which represents an increase of 46.38% over the last year’s profit.’’

Expatiating, he said: ‘’There was reduction in the interest rates to cushion the effects of the economic hardship on members, payment of unclaimed dividends as well as savings increased by N390m with both dividends and net surpluses increased by over 48%.’’

He also hinted of plans by the Society to acquire properties in strategic areas for business purposes, adding: “Already we have sent business proposals are being discussed and finalised with the SBU’s to establish Sales points of all brands of Dangote products for members. The Society is also planning to delve into finance scheme in the next two years.

“What we are looking forward now is from now to the next two years, we want to woo all Dangote staff to be members of the Cooperative. For a Society which started in 2004 with just 400 members and now 10, 000, our target is to grow it to about 15,000-20,000 members in the coming years,” he stressed.

Echoing similar sentiments, Comrade Odetunde Oluwole, two time president of the Society, said plans are in top gear to commence construction at Obajana in Benue state, Move in Ogun, Lokoja in Kogi state respectively.

“In Lagos state, we are planning to construct a housing estate, which we are about to commence. We already have Certificate of Occupancy, layout and approval. It’s just to move to site,” he said.

DANCOOPS, according to Oluwole which is made up of the following federating units namely: Dangote Industries Limited (Holding company), Dangote Sugar Refinery Plc, Dangote Four Mills, Dangote Oil Refinery Company Limited, Dangote Fertilizer Company of Nigeria Plc, National Salt Company of Nigeria Plc (NASCON), Dangote Cement Plc, Dangote Agro Sacks Limited, Dansa Foods Limited, A.G Dangote, Dangote Sino Truk West Africa Ltd, is also determined to branched into microfinance banking and other businesses as part of efforts to invest in lucrative ventures for the benefit of its members.

The highpoint of the occasion was the election of new executives to lead the affairs of the Society. Among those elected include, Afolabi Kamoru, who was re-elected as president, Olabode M Ojo, as Vice President, Lukmon O Yusuf, Treasurer, Bature Farman, as General Secretary, Chibueze Nwaeze, Assistant General Secretary.

Others include: Blamoh Adewale, as Assistant Financial Secretary with Ex-Officio as follows: Alh Isa S Musa, Oladipupo O Funsho, Ashonibare Ade.

Why Nigerians prefer foreign building materials

Indications abound why the drive to source building materials locally by Nigerians cannot be possible. Nigerians are known to have penchant for foreign goods and so anything labelled Nigeria, no matter the quality, is regarded as inferior. The worst aspect of that is that even if a Nigerian starts anything good, government will do everything possible, whether within or outside the law, to frustrate the person. This is what experts see as reason for the backwardness of the economy as well as the sole dependence on oil.

For obvious reasons, government has veered off the local content policy. However, to confuse those who may not understand, they keep voicing the policy and using it as a ploy to get those they target. There are some building materials you simply can’t put any price on due to the sheer number of varieties, qualities, and categories. Therefore, this list includes the major building materials of broad category.

Statistics obtained from the Raw Materials Research and Development Council (RMRDC) showed that between 2010 and 2015, Nigeria spent N13.6 trillion on the importation of raw materials, especially building materials, that could have been sourced locally if some more rigorous work had been put into the country’s import substitution strategy. According to some experts, this is correct, yet government officials and those who read such things in the universities that are appointed leaders on account of their speciality abandoned them for easy and finished products. Statistics also show that Nigeria in 2016, spent about another N5.89 trillion on the importation of similar raw materials, thus bringing the total sum spent on the importation of primary raw materials into the country within the seven-year period to N19.5 trillion. The imports in 2016 included some finished products. This means that on the average, the country splashed N2.79 trillion every year in the past seven years to import building materials and other raw and finished materials.

However, the most expected of the problems that needs attention is the fact that so much has been spent on research yet nothing tangible has been achieved as more Nigerians are entering the import circle without looking inwards to see what could be done homewards. Some experts argue that if half of the resources put into importation is directed towards construction of factories and companies that can do what is done abroad, Nigeria’s problem of importing building materials would have been a thing of the past.

Despite being a large country, one wonders whether any successive governments have considered how big the building and construction materials business in Africa really is? For one to venture into such things means looking for solutions on how to procure them locally. At this point, discerning minds begin to ask whether government is not aware that high building and construction activities are often signs of growing economies. This is because when the economy looks good, the demand for residential, commercial and all kinds of real estate usually goes through the roof.
The Federal Government levies Customs duties on most imports but these duties were substantially reduced in 1986 and in 1995. The import duty varies from 5 per cent to 60 per cent, averaging 12 per cent. All imports are also subject to a 7 per cent port surcharge and a 5 per cent Value Added Tax (VAT). The paperwork necessary for exporting and importing is lengthy.The taxation system has been widely avoided and valuations are arbitrary. The implication is that since authorities prefer making some stipends from charging imported materials, they prefer Nigerians to do more importation than exportation. This, some experts adduce as reasons Customs officials chase goods into the construction sites because they are imported. They prefer to be zealous in things that would bring them aggrandisement instead of growing the economy.

From government archive, prohibited exports include raw hides and skins, timber and building materials, raw palm kernels, and unprocessed rubber (to protect building and processing industries) yet the will to convert them into finished products here in Nigeria for use is lacking. They rather prefer to have them finished abroad and brought to the country as foreign goods for Nigerians to patronise them. Again, most goods produced in Nigeria may be freely exported, although prohibited imports include live chicks, flour, vegetable oils, gypsum, mosquito repellent coils, plastic domestic articles, used tires and weapons.

The NBRRI was part of the West Africa Building and Road Research Institute jointly established in 1952 by building professionals in Ghana and Nigeria. When Nigeria attained independence in 1960, the Nigerian members pulled out while their Ghanaian counterparts formed the Building and Road Research Institute linked with the Ghana Academy of Arts and Science. In 1978 the NBRRI became a department in the Ministry of Works and Housing.
In the most recent past, the Executive Director, Royal Pacific Group, promoters of Fraser Suites, Abuja, Mr. M G Nasreddin, stressed the need for government to increase investment in property industry or better still support private investment with enabling environment. He believes that such opportunity will also encourage local and international private investments, thus creating wealth down the value chain, boosting the economy and complementing the effort of government in the provision of quality and affordable housing for Nigerians and employment.

This, if seriously analysed, could be the route to finding solution to manufacturing of building materials here in Nigeria as the private investors to be attracted will not wholly depend on imports for their jobs. Manga time, they will use their technical know-hows to bring about the manufacture of some of the materials they use. With this, little by little, they will creep into the Nigerian space.

Over the years, the NBRRI has conducted researches into materials for constructing roads and houses. Under President Shehu Shagari, the institute acquired a site and built its headquarters on the Ota-Idiroko Federal Highway.

The need to be close to the seat of power necessitated relocation to Abuja, and the establishment of zonal offices in each geo-political zone. The sprawling complex in Ota was then designated National Laboratory and Production Complex. The institute has also done much work on the use of cement for road construction in Nigeria. This is essential as it is known that the world reserves of heavy crude (which yields the bitumen base for asphalt) is dwindling. Limestone is abundant in Nigeria and cement manufacturers are promoting the use of cement for road construction.

Right choice of tiles gets your home glowing

Technology is good as it helps to bridge a long process of doing things within a twinkle of an eye. Technology also brings about beauty and aesthetics in both human life and materials. In fact, technology has touched every fabric of our human life such that no single thing is devoid of its innovation.

But sometimes, technologies turn out to be a good servant and bad master and vice versa as the case may be. Light, brick block, television, phone, asbestos roofing materials, asphalt tarring of road, painting of houses and maintaining gardens around the home, in addition to transportation medium, computers as well as solar roofing sheets and tiles, including floor and wall tiles, are all part of technology.

As a good servant, these technologies help in either beautifying our lifestyles, making our jobs easy and increasing our propensity in job creation. But on the other hand, it can be a bad master in the sense that a single vehicular accident can kill as many people as possible, so also electricity and slippery floor tiles.

Pope JohnPaul II, was once reported to have slipped off a tiled floor and sustained injuries. The Catholic Pontif was also reported to have suffered many other domestic accidents as a result of slippery tiles. But aside these disadvantages, tiles, whether on the floor or wall, help to change the aesthetics of your property or home. Flooring materials, therefore, play an important role in shaping the final aesthetic value of your rooms. The floor usually dominates a neutral palette and attracts instant attention. Thus, you can dramatically change the appearance of your entire room by redoing the flooring. So, if you’re planning to remodel your rooms by replacing the flooring, you would naturally like to avoid any undesirable consequences or flaws in the process.

Ceramic floor tiles are one of the most used flooring materials after hardwood. If you’re planning to shop for tiles, there are a few things you must avoid. In order to avoid the bad master aspect of tiles in your homes, there are certain precautions you must take to enjoy only the positive side of tiles.

Taking floor measurements without expert guide

Don’t measure your floor lengths on your own, instead have a professional tile installer do it for you. Although this procedure seems quick and simple, nevertheless, it is not a piece of cake for an average person. Since a non-technical person is unfamiliar with technical terms like “off angles”, “floor inclination” and “edges”, you should hire a licensed tile setter to accomplish the task. He can give you an estimated number and size of tiles you will need in your room.

Using the services of a fake tiler

Enthusiastic weekend do-gooders look for amateur improvement projects so that they can save a couple of money. Replacing your old flooring with ceramic floor tiles requires a great deal of patience, time and efforts. You need to search for a skilled, seasoned and reputed contractor who can handle this job well.
Use of fake or inferior materials

Before you start with the remodelling procedure, it is essential that you plan a budget. However, make sure you choose a good contractor. Don’t just hire anybody who offers you discounted rates. There is no substitute to the skills, experience and knowledge of the experts, therefore, hire the best contractors in town. Likewise, don’t buy materials from road side retailers just because they are offering affordable rates. Take some time and differentiate between expensive and cost-effective as well as good-quality and poor quality services.

Living above your standards
Tiled floors look pleasing to the eye and add a great value to your home but the key rule in choosing a floor type is to get a suitable material that can easily fit in with your lifestyle. Don’t buy fancy flooring for entertainment purposes. If your floors receive plenty of traffic on a regular basis, you shouldn’t add glassy or slippery floor tiles to your rooms, especially when you have kids and pets at home. Having a tiled floor makes you vulnerable to slips and minor accidents. Therefore, consider the daily requirements of your family members when choosing flooring for their rooms.

Inability to pick grout colours matching the wall

Purchasing grout and installing it is relatively easier than replacing it from time to time. Since shadow and light can play tricks on the eye, it is important that you consider the final appearances of your tiled floors. Visualise what they will look like after installation. This way, you can add the right shade to lighten them up or tone them down, according to surrounding elements.

Not exploring market for better options

Ceramic floor tiles come in different sizes, shapes, textures, patterns and types. The market is jam-packed with different types of materials that add a classy look to your rooms. If you want attractive flooring for your rooms, it is important that you conduct thorough research on the market. Compare and contrast the materials designed by different manufacturers, test their durability, analyse their costs and see if they fit into your project. Always buy flooring materials from reliable and reputed dealers only. Moreover, don’t just hire any person you come across in the very first attempt. Interview different tile setters, discuss your project with them, negotiate prices and come up with the best deal.

Failure to understand tiles manual

All reputed tile installers offer price quotes and a detailed description of their services in writing. Make sure that you discuss important details like price rates, project duration, types of materials required, number of workers you are planning to have in your home, workmanship guarantee and insurance policies with your tile setter. Get a written copy of the work contract and read it carefully before you make the payment.

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