By Naomi Uzor
The Managing Director ofÂ Dangote Group, Mr KnutÂ Ulvmoe, said Nigeria would soon starting exporting cement to ECOWAS countries.
Ulvmoe said following the current production trend, the country wouldÂ likelyÂ start exporting cement by 2011.
â€œThe nationâ€™s cement production will soon hit about 28 million tonnes from about 12.5 million tonnes annually. There is hope that by 2011 Nigeria will begin to export cement to other countriesâ€ he said.
According to him, there are many ongoing cement projects in the country that are at various stages of completion and that these projects would inject millions tonnes of cement into the market, adding thatÂ the initiative ofÂ President Olusegun Obasanjo administration to encourage local production of cement had started yielding the desired benefits
â€œThe initiative spurred most ofÂ the importers like the Dangote Group to invest massively by setting up new cement factories and rehabilitateÂ moribund plants. This initiative has resulted in full-scale production of cement in the countryâ€ he said.
He noted that before the initiative, the country was barely producing about 2.5 million tonnes of cement annually and there was a huge gap in the demand and that the local demand for cement hovered between 19 and 20 million tonnes annually while local production was about 17 million tonnes.
Ulvmoe disclosedÂ that Dangote Group alone produced over 50 per cent of local production, adding that the firmâ€™s expansion project in Obajana, Kogi, and the construction ofÂ Ibese Cement Plant would inject about 17 million tonnes into the market annually and that the group had already commenced construction of some facilities to actualise the export dream.
â€œWith the look ofÂ things, Dangote Group will be happy to see the country achieve self -sufficiency in cement production on or before 2011, the major challenges operators face is poor power supply, access to gas and high cost of fuelâ€ he stated.