The federal government through the minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed ehas applauded the BUA Cement Plc for its plan to produce 17million metric tonnes of cement annually, starting from 2023. The minister, who stated this at the official visit and tour of the BUA Cement Plc factory in Sokoto State yesterday, appreciated the ways in which the cement company was able to leverage conducive business environment created by the president Muhammadu Buhari-led administration at the federal level to attract more investors into critical sectors of the economy.
Stating that the inspection was in continuation of its tour of public and private sector projects that are impacting positively on the lives of the people across the country, he added that, “within the past two months alone, we have visited four projects, the latest being this BUA Cement facility here in Sokoto.”
Others, he listed are the Dangote Petroleum Refinery and Petrochemicals as well as the Dangote Fertilizer in Lagos visited on April 3rd 2022; the Lekki Deep Sea Port in Lagos, which was visited on May 4th 2022 and the Duchess Hospital also in Lagos visited on 10th of May, 2022. All these projects, he stressed, are beneficiaries of the conducive business environment created by the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari, under the auspices of the Presidential Enabling Business
Environment Council (PEBEC), which has implemented over 150 reforms since 2016, as well as the Companies and Allied Matters Act, 2020(CAMA 2020) – Nigeria’s most significant business legislation in three decades. The result of this favourable business environment is the birth of new businesses such as the 5 Million tonnes per annum(mtpa) BUA Cement here in Sokoto; the $2.5 billion Dangote Fertilizer Plant that will produce 3 million tonnes of Urea every year; the 650,000 barrels per day oil refinery due to open later this year; the Lekki Deep Sea Port, one of the most modern sea ports in West Africa and the 5,000 barrels per day Modular Refinery in Ibigwe, Imo State,” he pointed out.
He noted that the conditions that have made BUA cement to flourish, especially, since 2015 when the current administration assumed office, include the fact that BUA was granted Pioneer Status, the ban on importation of cement, government’s divestment from the cement industry and the backward integration policy, adding that, through these, BUA Cement has recorded a 300 per cent increase in production between 2015 and now. From 3.5 million tonnes per annum in 2015 to 11 million tonnes per annum now, he said, the plan of the cement firm to generate 17million metric tonnes of cement annually from 2023 is commendable.
“For its part, the sokoto plant is operating at over 90 per cent of installed capacity. Because of its location, which is just 100 kilometers to Niger Republic, the plant exports to Niger and Burkina Faso, earning Nigeria much needed forex,” he stressed. Earlier, the managing director/CEO, BUA Cement Plc. Mr. Yusuf Binji, said the plan to increase its production capacity from the current 11million metric tonnes of cement per annum to 17million through its Edo and Sokoto plants, was to ensure its cement product is readily available across the nook and crannies of the country.
Stressing that BUA Cement remains the largest cement producer in the North West, South South and South Eastern parts of the country and the largest private employer of labour in the North-West, he added that, BUA Cement (Sokoto plant) is primarily engaged in the business of quarrying, extracting, processing and dealing in limestone as well as the manufacture and supply of cement. He equally disclosed that there are 443 permanent staff and that, together with all other ancillary jobs, the company generates about 10,000 direct and indirect jobs in the country.
Stressing that the firm’s Sokoto plant is the first cement plant in Nigeria to use Liquefied Natural Gas to generate 50MW of power, thereby, replacing coal, he added that, this has made the plant environmentally friendly to also curb climate change. Speaking on the country’s future plan, he said: ” BUA Cement plans to drive revenue and cost synergies across revenue and margin lines; harmonise sales and marketing strategy across the two plants; increase customer portfolio and capture new market areas, including construction of lines 3 & 5 at Okpella and Sokoto plants, respectively, while deploying solutions that enhance customer experience. We have commenced work on the 70MW gas power plant at Obu as well as commenced work on the 70MW gas power plant at Sokoto plant.”