Daily Trust (Abuja)

9 May 2012

Nigeria: Dei Dei Traders Say Citizens Prefer Foreign Building Materials

For a first time visitor to Dei Dei International Market located in Dei Dei district, a suburb of the FCT, the sight of various types of building materials adorning every street in the market will make one think of owning a house.

The way and manner the traders arrange their various wares ranging from tiles, plumbing materials, security doors, Iron steel, cement amongst several others indeed gives the market the international outlook it is meant to be.

But one thing that makes the market more international is the presence of several imported building materials, despite the federal government's claim of localising materials used in building in the country to reduce cost and promote indigenous companies involved in the production of such materials.

Apart from Dangote cement and casting iron that the traders admitted selling more than any foreign equivalent, every other building material demand is more or less for foreign ones.

There is virtually nothing that is used in building that is not readily available in the market.

When Daily Trust visited the market on Monday some of the traders attributed the heavy stock of foreign building materials in their various shops to increasing demand by customers.

The market, according to Mr Ikechukwu David, who sells plumbing materials, said that the market was created in 1996 and he has been selling building materials there since then. He said that the market is divided into different divisions, depending on what one wants; adding that people come from within and outside the FCT to buy building materials from the market.

When asked on the choice of building materials prefer by customers in the market, he responded thus: "People buy according to their purchasing power. People buy local building materials because it is cheaper, but it is not always the case because China goods sometimes come down and even beat Nigerian good."

He said that foreign goods are of higher quality than the ones produced here and at times even cheaper which makes it customer's choice.

Echie who deals in iron and steel material in the market said that sale has been low in the market for some time now due to increase in the prices of building materials and the security problems affecting the country.

He said that normally during rainy season the price of building materials like iron is supposed to come down but still remains high now, thereby reducing the number of customers that come from the different parts of the country to purchase materials in the market.

"Out of 100 percent of people that buy iron from me 70 percent of them prefer iron rods that are made in Nigeria. The ones from Germany and Ukraine are higher in price but the quality is almost the same with that of Nigeria. That is why most people prefer to buy more of iron rods that we buy from Lagos and Calabar. The one from Ukraine is two thousand, fifty naira while the one produced here is sold for one thousand, two hundred and fifty naira," the trader said.

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