BUA to export 700,000 metric tons of cement annually
President of Dangote group, Aliko Dangote on Friday urged the Federal Government to intensify actions against dumping of goods on Nigeria smuggled through the Republic of Benin.
He spoke with State House correspondents after attending the Industrial Policy and Competiveness Advisory Council chaired by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
He called for drastic action to halt smuggling which he said is likely to weaken Nigeria’s efforts at building strong manufacturing base.
He said “The drastic action that should be taken is any action that will stop the Republic of Benin encouraging people to come and dump goods into Nigeria.
“There are so many of them, it is to do with textiles, sugar, pasta, vegetable oil, arms and ammunition. Because, the smuggling really has gone out of control and we need to really do something.
He noted that the challenge of smuggling was very very deep, adding that “the biggest issue and challenge for the economy and also for the manufacturing has to do with smuggling and I think unless we really take a very drastic action against the Republic of Benin, I don’t think we are really going to be successful”
“You know we have to attack it from two fronts; one is stopping the Republic of Benin from promoting smuggling into Nigeria and two, to ensure we stop those who are patronizing the goods in the market, that is to stop people from selling smuggled goods.
Dangote noted that this already has strong crippling effect on the “economy and not allowing us to create jobs”
“It is allowing us to create more poverty because some of our business are shutting down. If you are shutting down you are creating more job loss rather than employing more people.” he added
The Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Okechukwu Enelamah said that the government was working on addressing all issues affecting industrial development.
He said “We are working on the whole area of technology and how to deal with issues around MSMEs and financing, we are also working on issues that affect training and providing training particularly in the technology space and the sub-committee working on skills acquisition came up with their proposal which was adopted by the council that we need to provide more training in the technology and related areas to our people to create more jobs.
“There was also a discussion around trading and addressing the issue around smuggling and robust discussion on that on how to make sure we address this problem area.” he said.
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Abdulsamad Rabiu, Chairman of BUA Cement disclosed that the recently commissioned cement plant is set to embark on export of 700,000 metric tones of cement annually.
Vice President Yemi Osinbajo had commissioned the 1.5 million metric tons per annum plant
He said “So we are actually very excited because as I keep saying these are the kinds of things we need to do using our local raw materials to develop our economy. So this plant is very unique, the location is very good because of its proximity to Niger Republic and Benin Republic which is only about 100 kilometers away from the border and that is going to generate a lot of foreign exchange for the country.
He disclosed that BUA was producing high quality cement of about 55 mega pascal and is going to cater for the catchment area which is Sokoto, Zamfara, Kebbi and all the way to Kano and other areas within the North western part of Nigeria.
“It is important to note that this is the single largest investment in the whole of north western part of the country and is generating over 2000 direct jobs and so we are very excited and we thank Mr. Vice President for making time to come and commission the plant.
“We want to be able to cater for the market locally first before export, adding that “at about $120 price, it is quite tempting to export most of it, meaning that the price of cement in terms of export is higher than in Nigeria but we still believe that it is important for us to cater for the local market first.
“We are looking at exporting between 500,000 to 700,000 tons annually, that is about 30 to 40 percent of the market depending on the season. As you know during the dry season the demand for cement in Nigeria is very very high. So during the dry season we intend to produce and sell everything within Nigeria but during the rainy season when the demand is low we export substantial part of what we produce.” he stated
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