Vice President Yemi Osinbajo has decried the high price of cement even as Nigeria is ranked the biggest producer of the product in Africa.
Speaking yesterday at the commissioning of the $350 million BUA Sokoto cement plant at Kalambaina, Sokoto, Osinbajo said cement production is a profitable business despite the challenges of high cost of inputs and exchange rate in the country.
He said with the little margin, the manufactures stood to make profits because of the high demand for the products.
He said Nigeria has about 40 million tons annual capacity of cement production, which is the largest any country can produce in Africa.
The vice president said the Federal Government has recognized the impact of cement in infrastructural development, especially road construction, bridges, dams and housing, adding that already, approvals have been given for concrete roads along Obajana-Kabba, Apapa-Wharf, adding that there are plans to pay more attention on such roads because they are cheaper and durable.
The newly commissioned Sokoto cement plant by BUA Group will create at least 2,000 direct and 10,000 indirect jobs when fully operational, the chairman of the group, Abdulsamad Rabiu, said at the commissioning ceremony of the 1.5 million metric tons capacity plant.
Rabiu said the plant is equipped with ultra-modern facilities that enable it operate both on fuel and coal or mixed.
The plant can generate 32 megawatt from the multi-fuel captive power plant and a coal mill, which is beyond what Sokoto State required daily.
He said the plant has an added advantage of proximity to Niger and Benin republics for the export market, “but it’s the policy of the company to satisfy the local market first before export, “ Rabiu added.
“By also using coal to power our kiln, we expect to save over 70% in terms of energy costs compared with if we had to use over 15 million litres of fuel oil per month or about 400 tonnes or 20 trucks of fuel oil per day,” he also explained.
The plant, stated three years ago, is the biggest in the north western part of Nigeria.
“The second line of our $1 billion Obu Cement Complex in Okpella, Edo State – which you commissioned in August 2017 – will be completed by the end of this year.
“That BUA Cement investment in Edo State remains the single largest private-led investment in the entire South-South region of Nigeria outside the oil and gas industry,” Rabiu also told Vice President Osinbajo.