FG pushes for lower cement price: The Federal Government has called on cement manufacturers to consider reducing the price of the commodity in order to improve local consumption for various infrastructural projects, even as they continue to build their export capacity.
Nigeria’s Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, argued that cement price can be cheaper if per capita consumption increases through adoption of concrete roads and collaboration among local producers.
Osinbajo, during the inauguration of BUA Cement plant in Sokoto, on Tuesday, said: “Currently, Nigeria produces over 40 million tonnes of cement annually. Nigeria produces more cement than any other country in Africa. Indeed, when put together, several other countries still cannot produce as much cement.
“Nigeria’s huge market size of high urbanisation rate of 3.5 per cent, and even now, a low per capita cement consumption of about 125kg, and an estimated housing deficit of 17 million are key drivers for the growth of the Nigerian cement industry in the medium term.
“We have plenty of capacity to consume cement locally. As mentioned earlier, two issues require urgent attention. The first is the price of cement, it surely can be cheaper.
I know the standard arguments such as power, transportation, and other challenges, but it is still a lucrative business, and I know the reduction of price is possible between the major players.
“The second issue is concrete roads. We can change the narrative on road construction dramatically if we think through using concrete buildings in Nigeria,” he added.
Meanwhile, BUA Group has announced plans to commence exportation of cement with its recently inaugurated 1.5 million metric tonnes (MMT) cement plant in Sokoto to neighbouring countries, while also meeting local demand for the commodity.
With the inauguration of the Sokoto Plant, and completion of the expanded plant in Okpella, Edo State, the Group’s installed capacity is expected to hit 8MMT by the end of 2018.
The Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of BUA Group, Abdul Samad Rabiu, said the ultra modern cement plant holds a significant promise for the local market, and has huge export potential to earn foreign exchange for the country.
Rabiu said: “In the event that we choose to export, the Forex savings and potential forex this could generate for the country is huge.
We are in a prime position to actually deliver the entire demand here within the North-West, which is our catchment area, and also export; even though at BUA, we have made it a policy to cater first to our home market before we export.”
Meanwhile, the Chairman also said the second line of its $1billion Obu Cement Complex in Okpella, Edo State inaugurated in August 2017, would be completed this year end. He said BUA Cement investment in Edo remains the single largest private-led investment in the entire South-South region of Nigeria, outside the oil and gas industry.
He continued: “By the time that plant is completed by the end of the year – together with what we have here, BUA Cement’s total production volumes will be in excess of eight million tonnes, and that would give us over 35 per cent of the entire volumes produced in Nigeria.”
The Governor of Sokoto State, Dr. Aminu Waziri Tambuwal, urged investors to exploit opportunities in the State through the huge deposit of natural resources, adding that the State has developed a blue print on the ease of doing business to encourage investors and protect their investments.