The Federal Government is set to save $2 billion annually in foreign exchange from cement production with the coming on stream of BUA Group’s cement production lines in Edo State.
The project is also expected to leapfrog the country’s cement production from under three million metric tonnes to 45 million metric tonnes by next year.Speaking at the formal commissioning and ground breaking ceremony of BUA Group’s ultra-modern three million mt cement production lines in Okpella yesterday, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo said that private sector was key to the country’s industrialisation.The vice president said that the construction of the two production lines was a critical boost to the Nigerian economy, adding that the company’s ultra-modern cement facility would create massive job for Nigerians, especially Edo indigenes.With the commencement of work at the three million mt production line one, the vice president noted it was part of the country’s consolidation to achieve self-sufficiency in cement production, stressing that it was also a massive boost for the country’s export market and foreign exchange drive.
He said: “It is my singular honour and pleasure to visit, inspect and commission this three million mt capacity ultra-modern cement plant and also the ground breaking of the second BUA’s three million mt capacity production line in Okpella, Edo State.“Just reading about this magnificent complex, I am extremely proud to be a Nigerian and I am sure that several of us here are. This is a wholly Nigerian enterprise and to note that the planning, execution and successful establishment of this industrial complex was done by a Nigerian team is really good to know.“The construction of this plant of course is a big boost to the Nigerian economy. It means thousands of direct jobs and indirect jobs both for skilled and unskilled workers.“As a matter of fact, we are told that production line is running and there is no flame, no noise, it is just working so very well I think it is just an amazing thing indeed.”
Speaking on cement price reduction, the vice president said: “As noted by the chairman himself during a visit to my office on July 7, he spoke about two factors which he felt would bring down the cost and availability of cement in Nigeria.“One of those is exchange rate and of course, he was completely correct to say that as our currency improves and stabilises and as we see reduction in the price of low pour fuel oil, it is inevitable that production cost and market price of cement will come down to a level within the reach of many Nigerians.”Speaking earlier, the Chairman, BUA Group, Alhaji Abdulsamad Rabiu, said the commissioning and ground breaking had not only made Nigeria a net exporter of cement, but also generate thousands of jobs in the industry.According to him, BUA invested $700 million in completing the first production line while the second production line will gulp $300 million, thus making it $1 billion.
Rabiu said the company’s total investment in the combined plants in Edo, Sokoto and Obu cement plants would amount to $2 billion on completion next year.He said the company delved into cement production in 2008 with highest stake in Cement Company of Northern Nigeria (CCNN) and the acquisition of Edo Cement.Rabiu thanked former Governor Adams Oshiomhole for his wise counsel, which led to the realisation of the commissioned plant.He also announced the construction of another three million metric tonnes capacity plant close to Obu by SINOMA that will be commissioned next year.He said: “Today marks an important milestone for us. It is not only for us as BUA, but the Nigeria cement industry and Nigeria economy in general as we witness the official commissioning of the three million metric tonnes Obu cement plant as well as the ground breaking of the second line of our 3mt plant.“The journey of the Nigeria integrated cement manufacturing has seen Nigeria moved from a nation of 3million metric tonnes of production capacity to a country that will have 45 million tonnes of cement manufacturing capacity by next year. We are planning about a 24 per cent increase in capacity.
“This important feat has not only made Nigeria self-sufficient, but exporter of cement. The cement sub-sector represents over 90 per cent of the Nigeria mining sector and employs some 40,000 people directly and over two million people indirectly. It also saves the Nigeria economy over $2 billion in foreign exchange annually.“The success and impressive efficiency of the first line, which in its first year of operation was over 90 per cent returns of capacity utilization, made BUA to commence the construction of the second line of three million tonnes.”On his part, Governor Godwin Obaseki commended BUA Group for the investment and also lauded the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration for creating an enabling and economic-driven environment for investors to thrive.