By Amaka AGWUEBGO
The degenerating housingÂ situation in the country, owing to the reduced construction of
affordable houses for the masses, seem to be getting worse with the high cost of building materials.
Sand, which is one of the major materials for housing construction has recently doubled in price and is out of reach of many who are nursing the ambition to own a shelter of their own.
Unlike other building materials, sand does not require much technical processing as all that needs to be done is to dig it up from the river bed. Vanguardâ€™s investigation reveals that the price of sand is gradually getting out of the reach of most people due to the massive public works going on in Lagos. The 10 lane road construction from Lagos to Badagry, and other works going on in the state require massive use of sand that has made the ordinarily easy to come by commodity scarce in the metropolis.
Giving reasons for the increase in the price of sand, Kafayat, a sand dealer at Tincan, said it is due to the reduced number of diggers and the closing of one of the beaches where the sand is dug up from.
â€œWe started experiencing the increase in the price of sand when the number of sand diggers reduced. Most of them did not want to be going underwater to dig sand, making those that still do it increase the price at which the sell to us.â€
Continuing, Kafayat said despite the increase in the price of sand, more people are still building as they are witnessing daily increase in patronage by buyers. We usually buy sand from the diggers who bring the sand from Idalo at Badagry, and Igbelejo at Apapa. There are different types of sand namely, Igbelejo, black Idalo and yellow Idalo.
Pointing out that the sand business is a profitable venture, Kafayat said that before the increase in the price of sand, they bought a boat full of Igbelejo sand for N17, 000 and sold a tipper of it for N9, 000. Now, a boat full of Igbelejo goes for N22, 000 and a tipper load of it is sold for N11, 000.
â€œWhen we buy a boat full of Igbelejo sand for N22, 000, we sell a tipper of the same sand for N11, 000 and a boat full of sand is usually four tippers of sand. So we make a profit of N22, 000 from a boat of sand.â€
Kafayat noted that though yellow Idalo sand is no longer available due to closure of Badagry beach where the sand is dug up from, but black Idalo is very much available and is selling.
â€œYellow Idalo is no longer available because the Badagry beach was shut down by the authorities due to excessive sand digging.
â€œWe buy a boat full of black Idalo for N20, 000 and we sell a tipper full for N10, 000. As usual, a boat full of black Idalo sand contains four tippers of sand, giving us N20, 000 as profit.â€
So profitable is the business that despite the increase in the price of sand, Kafayat insists that more people are coming into the business that was once looked down upon.
When asked the number of tippers of sand she sell daily, Kafayat responded thus â€œit depends on patronage, but on the average, I sell three tippers daily, that is almost 5 boat full of sand weekly.â€
For new entrants, Kafayat advised that they must have N400, 000 for them to start the business.
â€œFrom the N400, 000, N300, 000 will be used to buy a boat while the remaining N100,000 will be to pay for the piece of land that youâ€™ll be dumping the sand.â€