The importation of cement may soon come to an end in Nigeria as the expected six-million tons per annum Dangote Cement from Ibese plant commences operations.
Nigeria's cement demand in 2011 was put at 17.6 million metric tons per annum. Its total local production was 14.5 metric tons while 3.1 million metric tons was imported to bridge the gap.
Available records indicate that as Nigeria's cement demands increased by the year, its local production also improved. In 2009, the demand was 14.4 million metric tons per annum while local production stood at 8.5 million metric tons with the importation of 5.9 million metric tons.
In 2010, the demand was 16 million metric tons per annum with local production at 11.28 million metric tons per annum. In that same year, 4.72 million metric tons was imported.
A statement from Dangote Group said that the commissioning of the Ibese Plant near Ilaro in Ogun State next month which is reputed to be the largest in Africa, will make Nigeria not only a producer of the commodity, but also a net exporter in months to come.
"We are marking the closing ceremony of cement import in Nigeria with the coming on stream of our Ibese cement plant which will be producing a combined six million tons per annum from its initial two lines while additional two lines will be added immediately to increase its production to 12 million tons per annum", the management of Dangote Cement said at the weekend.
President of the Dangote Group, Alhaji Aliko Dangote had said that his organization was taking up the challenge to lead the way in the effort of making the nation self-reliant in cement production as the nation was losing a huge sum in foreign exchange on import.
He said: "Our long-term ambition is to develop 46 million metric tons of production and terminal capacity in Africa by 2015. We want to become a truly pan-African champion in the sector, capable of competing globally with the largest cement companies in the world."
Group Head, Corporate Communication of the Dangote Group, Anthony Chiejina said considering Nigeria's cement need of 17 to 19 million tons per year, Dangote Group alone will be producing far more than the country's demand, with the coming on stream of Ibese plant.
"That will set the pace for exportation of our products which will lead to increased products, more revenue for the company and better returns for the shareholders," he said.
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