UniCem Expansion to Push Cement Output to 28m Tonnes, Says Jonathan
IMAGE: President Goodluck Jonathan, Nigerian President »
President Goodluck Jonathan has stated that the decision of the United Nigeria Cement Company (UniCem) to install an additional production line 2.5 million metric tonnes of cement per annum will soon take Nigeria’s installed cement production capacity to beyond 28 million metric tonnes per annum.
Jonathan disclosed yesterday in Mfamosing, Akamkpa Local Government Area of Cross River State, when he performed the groundbreaking for the construction of the company’s additional 2.5 million metric tonnes of cement per annum.
The president, who was represented by the Vice-President, Alhaji Namadi Sambo, said the steady growth recorded in the nation’s cement industry derives from the deliberate policies made by government in ensuring sustained production of the commodity in the country.
Jonathan said: “In the year 2002, the Federal Government of Nigeria formulated the Backward Integration Policy (BIP) in the cement industry with a view to making Nigeria a self-sufficient cement producer.
“Within a decade, we have witnessed phenomenal growth in the industry from 2million metric tonnes of cement produced locally in Nigeria per annum to 28million tonnes installed capacity in 2013.
“Today’s event by UniCem is yet another milestone for the company, the industry and the nation at large as this event brings additional 2.5 million metrics to the nations existing capacity.
“I am particularly impressed that after five years of inauguration of the first Line, we are gathered here today to break grounds for additional 2.5 million metric tonnes per annum cement Line.
“I am also very delighted, that this investment will create additional jobs for the teeming youths and contribute to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in addition to the various impacts enumerated as benefits of the first 2.5 million metric tonnes.”
On the positive impact the additional production lines, Jonathan said: “I am equally delighted because this investment will address cement demand in the future given the estimation that Nigeria’s consumption per kiloton will grow at an annual rate of over 50 per cent by 2020 and therefore the need for sustenance of our self-sufficiency in cement production.”
The president added: “Government will continue to support the growth of the manufacturing sector, which today is the backbone of Nigeria’s economic growth as part of the transformation agenda through formulation of friendly business policies to drive the desired investment in Nigeria.”
Jonathan said the achievements recorded by UniCem are a clear indication that Nigeria remains Africa’s preferred investment destination.
“I must commend the foresight of the Board of UniCem for making the decision to invest in Nigeria and the commitment to grow the investment and contribute to our economic growth.
Expressing gratitude to the management of UniCem and the state government, Jonathan said: “Let me commend also the government and people of Cross River State, who have created the enabling environment which gave birth to the investment on the first line and the motivation for the investment in the second line.”
The state Governor, Senator Liyel Imoke, who was represented by the deputy governor, Mr. Efiok Cobham, said the additional 2.5 million metric tonnes cement plant would increase the production of cement in the state to five million metric tonnes per annum.
Imoke said the increase in the production of cement will reduce the cost of cement in the open market and the building and construction industry will be a major beneficiary of the investment.
The governor said the feat recorded by UniCem is directly linked to the state government’s policy of attracting direct foreign investments.
“We have attracted major FDIs in the region of over $3 billion to the State in the last four years,” Imoke said.
Chairman of UniCem Board, Mr. John Coumantaros said, “This occasion is made even more significant as it marks the consolidation of our position as Nigeria’s third largest cement manufacturer and leader of the industry in the South-South and South-east of Nigeria and brings us another step closer to realizing our mission of ‘becoming a leading manufacturer and supplier of high quality cement products in Nigeria.”
The Chairman disclosed that the second production line which is also located in Mfamosing, close to the first plant will be complete in 2016.
Commenting on the impact of the first line Coumantaros said “Our investment in the first line was given impetus by the Backward Integration Policy (BIP) of the Federal Government and we have continued to enjoy government support and incentives to ensure the sustainability of that investment.
“The investment has been of great economic and social benefits to Nigeria and the local communities in Cross River State as evidenced by the over 2000 (direct and indirect) employments generated and sustained and the contribution to Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
“Over the past five years, we have ramped-up our operations, producing 2.1m metric tons of cement as at 2013, 2.2m metric tons to be achieved in 2014 and with a target to reach our installed capacity by 2015. This we believe will contribute significantly in meeting our national demand for cement.
“Apart from cement production and the associated employments created, UniCem is also impacting positively on the industry as well as the economy by enhancing capacity of Nigerians through our Graduate Trainee Scheme, the Mechanical apprenticeship programme and staff capacity building programmes. Through these initiatives, we have given opportunities to many Nigerian youths to acquire industrial skills and providing the manufacturing sector with some of the required skilled manpower.”
Article Credit: Thisdaylive