The Nigerian government resolved to end the era of bitumen importation into the country.

It has therefore approved for investments by manufacturers in bitumen production. The approval, it was learnt, covered other construction products and materials used in road construction.

The approval was secured at the Federal Executive Council (FEC) last weekend sequel to a memorandum presented to it by the Minister of Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola.

The FEC also directed the ministries of petroleum resources and mines and steel development to develop strategies to enhance, stimulate and encourage local production.

Communications assistant to the minister for works and housing, Hakeem Bello, said the memo, which originated from an initiative of the President Muhammadu Buahari, would boost job creation and preserve foreign exchange.

In the policy memorandum entitled ‘Approval for the local production of bitumen and other construction materials in Nigeria’, Fashola drew the attention of council to the fact that bitumen and other major road construction materials were currently being imported.

He submitted that when produced locally, bitumen was expected to be sold at about N125,000 per metric tonne, which, according to him, was 48.8 per cent of the cost of the imported one which stands at N285,000.

The works and housing ministry said the President had made inquiry about the sources of the major components in road construction and the possibility of producing them locally.

By Chibisi Ohakah, Abuja

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