PRESIDENT Muhammadu Buhari has said that local manufacturing firms have made Nigeria self-sufficient in cement production.
The president, who made the disclosure at the inauguration of new BUA Cement Plant of three million metric tonnes in Sokoto State on Thursday, praised the manufacturing plants for creating thousands of jobs.
“Today, BUA and other numerous enterprises have made Nigeria self-sufficient in cement and net exporter,” Buhari said.
Nigeria’s cement production capacity has exceeded 40 million metric tonnes, with Dangote Cement the industry leader, followed by BUA and Lafarge. The country has met local demands and is currently exporting to African countries.
Buhari praised the efforts of BUA Cement Group in enabling cement sufficiency in the country and the work it was doing in pushing economic diversification and job creation.
“You know one of the pillars of the current administration is creating an enabling environment for businesses to thrive. The BUA Cement plant is the highest employer of labour in the north-western part of the country,” Buhari said.
“I’m here to commission this multi-billion naira project. It is therefore very clear for all to see that our promises are working. Progress is being made in various parts of the country as I also commissioned projects in Ogun and Kaduna States.”
The president further said that BUA had completed four new cement plants with similar capacity in the last five years in different parts of the country.
Buhari stressed that through its numerous investments in the manufacturing sub – sector, BUA had shown that it believed in Nigeria and its full potential.
In his remarks, Central Bank Governor Godwin Emefiele said the backward integration of the present administration and the ban on 43 items in 2015 were currently yielding positive results.
Emefiele said the backward integration in the cement manufacturing sub-sector had seen more manufacturers explore investment opportunities in the sector.
“Production capacity of cement now doubled from 30 million metric tonnes to 60 million metrix tonns,” Emefiele said.
The apex bank governor further stressed the need for more investments in the cement manufacturing sub-sector.
He also urged manufacturers to bring down building materials’ costs to assist government’s job creation policy and mass housing projects.
Earlier in his remarks, Chairman of BUA Group Abdulsamad Rabiu had said that apart from pushing cement sufficiency in Nigeria, the group planned to tap into opportunities in the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).
According to him, the total production capacity of BUA had risen to 17 million metric tonnes.
He stressed that BUA would continue to invest in cement industry to ensure that cement drive was achieved.
He also said that 98 per cent of all the materials used for production in the company were locally sourced as gypsum and limestone were abundantly found in the country.
Governor of Sokoto State Aminu Waziri Tambuwal, in his remarks, said the plant was key in job creation drive of the state government.
“We would continue to support investments into our states and we have robust incentives to support investments into our economy as we have been adjudged the second best state on the ease of doing business.”
He further lauded BUA Group in putting the state on the global map of Industrialisation drive, noting that appreciable incentives awaited would-be investors looking towards the state.
Harrison Edeh is a journalist with the International Centre for Investigative Reporting, always determined to drive advocacy for good governance through holding public officials and businesses accountable.