Cement self-sufficiency: BUA’s $1b investment to the rescue
Nigeria’s road to self–sufficiency in cement has been long and tortuous. But her chances of achieving the target may have been brightened by the investment of $1 billion in Obu Cement Plant in Edo State by the BUA Group.
With the investment of $1 billion in its cement plant in Okpella, Edo State, which, arguably, boasts Nigeria’s finest limestone depository, the BUA Group may have set the stage for the transformation of the state economy and, by extension, the economy.
For one, the newly-inaugurated cement plant, which has the capacity to produce three million metric tonnes of cement yearly, is seen as a big boost and a massive intervention to address the domestic deficit in cement products for housing and construction.
With the plant’s state-of-the-art setup seamlessly structured to facilitate the export drive, the investment is also seen as a significant boost for the nation’s cement self-sufficiency drive. BUA Group, according to its Chairman/CEO, Abdul Samad Rabiu, is building the second Obu cement line.
Rabiu, who spoke at the launch of the facility, noted that the cement plant would reposition Nigeria from a cement importer to an exporter, increase production capacity from three million tonnes to 45 million tonnes by 2018.
He said the cement sub-sector, which accounts for over 90 per cent of Nigeria’s mining sector, has the potential to shore up the $2 billion it injects into the country as foreign exchange (forex).
Rabiu, however, said infrastructure, particularly stable power as well as policy consistency, was necessary to achieving a significant growth in the sub-sector. He said that the investment could double the sub-sector’s current 30,000 direct employment and over two million indirect jobs.
“These kinds of investments in important sectors of the economy are not only necessary, they are critical.
“In order to reverse our import dependency and diversify the economy, large corporations have to engage in game-changing investment in sectors such as agriculture, mining, and infrastructure, while government at all levels ensures an enabling environment for the investments to thrive,” Rabiu said.
He said the vision of the company was to provide Nigerians with the best quality cement, using the best technology and best hands at the most affordable price. According to him, the choice of Okpella, in Estako East Local Government Area of the state, as the site for the plant, is strategic.
Rabiu also stated that the completion of the second line in the first quarter of 2018, being handled by SINOMA CBMI of China, is expected to take the company’s production capacity to six million metric tonnes per annum.
At the inauguration of the plant and the ground-breaking of the second line, the Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, pledged that the Federal Government would remove all human inhibitions to encourage investors.
His words: “Nation building is never judged by the number of new projects or fresh ideas that we begin; we are judged by what we complete and sustain. This country will only grow on the talent and resourcefulness of people like yourself who are ready to put their resources out and invest anywhere in the country, employ the local people in that community and add real value to the lives of Nigerians.”