Why manufacturers should cut cement prices- Emefiele

The call for a reduction in prices of cement and other building materials resonated yesterday as President Muhammadu Buhari inaugurated BUA Cement’s new production line facility in Sokoto.

The new BUA Cement Sokoto Line 4 adds three million metric tonnes to Nigeria’s local cement output.

Buhari also did the groundbreaking ceremony of the group’s 5th Cement production Line, which on completion, with another in Edo State, will raise BUA Cement’s output to 17 million metric tonnes. The President said occasions like the inauguration of the new cement line were an acknowledgement that his administration’s policies on economic diversification, job creation and creating an enabling environment for businesses to thrive were working.

He expressed his administration’s readiness to support serious investors to set up businesses that will take advantage of the opportunities and conducive business environment. Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Governor, Mr. Godwin Emefiele at the event said time was now ripe for building materials producers to consider reducing the price of cement and iron rods, insisting that over 90 per cent of the materials required for the production of these products are sourced locally.

According to him, manufacturers in the construction sector need to take urgent action in bringing down the prices of building materials in Nigeria. “Indeed, there have recently been calls by construction companies, urging cement and steel manufacturers to do something about the skyrocketing prices of these two essential items in the construction sector. This sector is one of the major sectors in the economy helping to create employment and boost growth in our country. We are aware that some of our cement manufacturers are producing for both the domestic and exports market, but we urge them to pay more attention to satisfying the domestic needs so as to bring down prices,” Emefiele said.He said the success story of cement production in Nigeria was a vindication of the apex bank’s avowed policy of promoting local industries and its denial of official forex funding for 43 items which the apex bank insisted can be produced locally.

”Following the implementation of this new directive, I am pleased to note that the production capacity of the cement industry in Nigeria has doubled from 30 million tonnes in 2014 to about 60 million tonnes in 2021. “Consequent upon this investment by local businessmen in the cement manufacturing sector, our nation has been able to conserve millions of millions of dollars, as no dollar from our external reserves has been spent on the import of cement into the country in the last six years. Importantly also, these investments have saved and created several thousands of jobs across multiple sectors of the economy,” Emefiele said.

He said the CBN stands ready to support upcoming businesses with requisite local and dollar funding.

“Let me assure current and prospective operators in the industrial sector that the Central Bank of Nigeria stands ready to continue to collaborate with you in enabling the development of a viable manufacturing sector in Nigeria. For those who are willing to invest in new greenfield or existing brownfield projects, the CBN will provide all the support needed, both in Naira and dollars needed to import plants and equipment to actualize these investments,” Emefiele said.

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