Home Feature Nigeria won’t have sand shortage – Experts

Nigeria won’t have sand shortage – Experts


…Attributes high cost to logistics

By Ladi Patrick and Oby Echeburu

Construction and building expert, Mr Ayodeji Akintunde has faulted the report that shortage of sand is likely to affect the pace of activities in the global construction industry, saying Nigeria has enough sand that can hardly be exhausted.

Akintunde who is also a principal officer with International Business Bureau Ltd (IBBL) said emphatically that Nigeria cannot experience sand shortage.

Speaking in an exclusive interview with Viewpoint Housing News in Abuja, Akintunde said Nigeria is an exception to that report as the sand in the sea can never be exhausted.

According to him, “We can’t have shortage of sand in Nigeria but we can have high cost of delivery due to logistics.

“Sharp sand doesn’t come from the land, it’s gotten from the sea. Have you heard of the word dredging?

“We can’t have shortage of sand but the problem we have here in Nigeria is the transportation cost, diesel cost and labour cost.

“Labour is beginning to increase…except for these three, we can’t have shortage but we can have high cost of getting it to your site, Akintunde added.

Also speaking to another construction expert, Arc. Adeniran Babajide said the situation was not application to Nigeria as the nation is reach natural resource.

 Babajide said, “Eko Atlantic have been dreading for more than five years and the sand was from the same location.

“They have up to a 1,000 hectares; 5 million square meters and there are many places where dredging is done in Lagos so this report cannot be generalized, sand is so cheap in Lagos.

“If I tell Nigerians that I want to dredge for them they will pay me huge amount of money because the water is rising and we need to take out the base in other to be able to get the sand,” the expert explained.

He  added, “The price will definitely go up because cost of haulage is going up. What makes you experience some form of shortage is not shortage but accessibility because when it’s raining you can’t access the waters.”

Akintunde said the report is from Malaysia. “Right now there is monsoon in Asia, and what does monsoon do?

“Without monsoon, we can’t get these things and that’s when you get short supply of all these building materials and it makes the prices to go up.

“It’s like saying you’re running short of granite — not with all these endless rocks we have.

“After reading the report, what I observed was that they narrowed it down.

“They are not talking about accessibility or cost and it is centred in Singapore.

“When you don’t have low continental shelves like ours in Nigerian, you can’t just keep dredging always.

“When your shelf is almost 250 meters, you can’t be dredging but when you have a continental shelf or slope that is graduating into the sea, that is when you can do dredging continually,” he stated.

A sand supplier in Mararaba, a sprawling settlement on the fringe of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Mallam Yaro Yaro who deals in sharp sand and gravel  attributed the high cost of the commodity to logistics ranging from transportation and labour. 

According to him, “About 10 years ago, a trip of 10-tyre tipper was sold for between N15,000 and N18,000 but now the price has risen between N55,000 and N60,000.

“When the price was N15,000 it was due to the distance where we excavate sand.

“Ten years ago, laterite was sold for N7,000 for 10- tyre truck. Now it is sold for N22,000.

“Gravel was sold for N38,000 for 10-tyre truck. Now it is sold for N67,000,” Yaro narrated.

It would be recalled that a report conducted by A.T. Kearney Global Business Policy Council’s Year-Ahead Predictions 2019 said the world will experience shortage of sand which is likely to affect the pace of activities in the global construction industry this year.

The report noted that urbanisation and infrastructure development are resulting in a global shortage of sand, the second most extracted natural resource after water.

It also stated that increasing sand prices due to scarcity will continue to cause construction strains in many African countries.

The report said two-thirds of construction materials is concrete, which itself is composed of two-thirds sand.

It added, “The global construction boom is therefore having a significant impact on global sand prices.

“To get a sense of scale, China used more sand between 2011 and 2013 than the United States did during the entire 20th century.

“In India, the construction boom is fueling not only a price spike—with reports of price increases between 100 and 150 percent in the past two years—but also a sand mafia that has become notorious for violence.

“There are similar criminal groups operating in Indonesia and elsewhere in Asia.

“US prices for cement and concrete rose nearly 70 percent between 2004 and mid-2018, driven in part by sand-intensive hydraulic fracturing (fracking) in the oil and gas sector.

“Even desert-based construction hotspots such as Dubai must import construction-grade sand, often taken from beaches, riverbeds, and lakebeds across the world.

“This rising sand demand is having devastating environmental effects, including rapidly intensifying the erosion and degradation of water-based ecosystems around the world.”

The report said in 2019, rising sand prices will put financial strain on the construction industry, particularly in emerging and frontier markets, adding that this trend can lead to the slowing or cancellation of some projects.

It noted that countries such as Vietnam would be particularly sensitive, given that sand prices there rose to about 200 percent in 2017 alone as the government seeks to eliminate illegal sand dredging.

The report said, “Singapore, the world’s largest sand importer, will face greater scrutiny and delay of development projects as global attention to the issue rises. The country is already subject to sand export bans from Vietnam, Indonesia, and Cambodia for alleged long-term participation in sand smuggling.

“In rapidly urbanising sub-Saharan Africa, increasing sand prices will continue to cause construction strains in countries such as Uganda, which has exhausted local supplies and is now turning to imports,” the report averred.


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