Local manufacture of cement has seen installed capacity increased from two million to 32 million metric tons since backward integration began in the sector in 2002.
“Increased local capacity in the manufacture of cement has so far attracted $6 billion in investments” said Lolu Alade-Akinyemi, Procurement Director, Lafarge Africa Plc, yesterday.
Alade-Akinyemi spoke during a breakout session on backward integration in manufacturing during the 23rd Nigeria Economic Summit in Abuja. The theme of this year’s summit is “Opportunities, Productivity and Employment”.
In addition to increased capacity and investments, the industrial policy of the government has harnessed Nigeria’s huge limestone deposit saving the country N240 billion per year.
He noted that “the manufacturing industry is the key to unlocking Nigeria’s economic potential with a multiplier effect on economic activity which drives tax revenue for the government.
“The Federal Government realised that cement production is one of the areas which Nigeria has a comparative advantage and there was no reason why we should not supply cement to countries within Africa” he said.
In over a decade, Nigeria has gone from a top 10 cement importer to a net exporter of cement – earning dollars and lessening the strain on foreign exchange.
Other benefits of the policy are direct and indirect employment for about two million people. It has also boosted local content, productivity and innovation. The growth of the cement industry has also broadened government’s tax base.
The building solutions provider has increased local sourcing of critical materials using alternative fuel (biomass) and locally mined coal. And lately doubled production capacity at its Mfamosing plant in Calabar to five million metric tons, expanding significantly Lafarge Africa’s footprint in Nigeria and West Africa.
Using the example of Ethiopia, the second largest exporter of cut flowers in the world, Alade-Akinyemi called for backward integration policies in other sectors where Nigeria has a comparative advantage and the promotion of forex-earning export rather than import substitution.