Lagos : The Minister of Trade and Investment, Mr Olusegun Aganga, said on Monday that cement importation would soon be a thing of the past in Nigeria.
Aganga, who spoke while inspecting the level of work at the Dangote cement plant, Ibeshe, Ogun, said the country was on the verge of being self-sufficient in cement production.
He said that when completed, the Ibeshe plant would be capable of producing six million tonnes of cement yearly.
“My intention of coming here is to know where we are in the concept of backward integration policy of government, so that government can set a target for indigenous manufacturers.
“From what I have seen here, the Dangote Cement is a success story. I am pleased and satisfied with the high pace of work and very optimistic that Nigeria will soon become self-sufficient in cement production.
“I must say that much has been achieved by Dangote Cement in an attempt to meet local demand. Government will like to replicate these exploits in the production of rice, sugar and wheat,” he said.
Aganga urged other businessmen to emulate the entrepreneurship skills of Alhaji Aliko Dangote, the President of the Dangote Group, by setting up firms that would create employment opportunities and boost the nation’s economy.
Dangote said that the company’s investment in the Nigerian economy was part of its strategy of moving away from outright importation to local manufacturing.
Dangote said that the strategy had drastically reduced the country’s import bill.
“The Ibese plant is part of the expansion drive of the Dangote Group to ensure that by 2012 the country will be self-sufficiency in cement production while the excess will be exported.
“The Ibese plant is an automated factory with constant online monitoring equipment to guarantee high quality cement.
“The two-line plant has a 70-km cable linking the production process from limestone crushing to the bagging of the finished products.
“We have abundant raw materials on ground and we have three alternative power sources and two stores capable of storing half a million tonnes of cement,” Dangote said.
He urged the minister to help in the formulation of policies that would aid local producers to be competitive in the international market.
Dangote assured the minister that his organisation would soon move into production of sugar to meet local demand.
The Special Adviser to the Dangote Group President, Mr Joseph Makoju, called on the government to address the infrastructural decay facing the country. (NAN)