Nigeria’s foremost cement company, Dangote Cement Plc has announced that it will be building new cement plants in Okpella in the northern part of Edo State and Itori in Ogun State.
The new plants are expected to add nine million metric tonnes per annum (mmtpa) to the company’s current local output of 29.25mmtpa, raising it to a total 38.25mmtpa.
The company stated that the communities in which it is setting up the new plants are The Group Managing Director and CEO of Dangote Cement Plc, Mr. Edwin Devakumar, who made the announcement in Lagos at the weekend, explained that the Okpella plant will have one cement line which will churn out three mmtpa, while the Itori plant will deliver approximately 6mmtpa from two production lines. Both plants are expected to come on stream within the next three years.
Devakumar said the company’s expansion drive was targeted at expanding its spread nationwide and reducing the transportation cost component of its operations.
He added that the new investments will also lower the cost of production, bring about a future reduction in the price of cement, and generate employment opportunities for youths of the host communities.
Also speaking, the Group Managing Director, Cement of Dangote Industries Limited, Mr. Onne Vander Weijde, said the demand for cement was still high considering the population growth in Nigeria, observing that Nigeria’s consumption of cement at just 100kg per capita was relatively low, indicating massive growth potentials.
“There has always been a surplus in demand because cement was not readily available, but ours is available and the prices are affordable. Consumer prices have fallen by 35 per cent in naira terms, but if you put it in dollar terms and relate it to today’s parallel market rates, you will realise the price of the product has gone down in Nigeria, and in some cases below the prevailing average global price.
“This itself is a huge driver for increasing the per capita consumption,” he explained.
He said with the capacity of its plants in Nigeria, Dangote Cement can supply the entire western and central Africa region, adding that Dangote Cement is currently exporting cement to Niger, Ghana, Togo with plans to move into Cote d’Ivoire.
“Nigeria was an import-dependent country in terms of cement in the past, so if we do not add capacity, we will not be able to match the growing rate of consumption in the country.
“We want to ensure that we are always one step ahead to meet local demand for the commodity,” he said.
According to him, the investments would create in excess of 5,000 jobs at the outset, adding that logistics and construction of the plants would also provide more employment opportunities indirectly to surpass direct jobs.
In his remarks, Special Adviser to the President of Dangote Group, Mr. Joseph Makanju, said expectations were very high about a reduction in the price cement when the nation began building local cement production capacity.
He said expectations were now being met with cement selling at about N1,300 per 50kg bag, making it the most affordable in the world.
“In the past, cement sold at over N2000 per bag. There is a lesson to be learnt for the country and the media has a big role to play in this because when you go through transformation by moving a country from being dependent on imports, there is need to encourage local investment to make those products being imported into the country,” he said.
“I am using this medium to appeal to the media by saying they have a huge role to play. You can refer to the cement story to educate the public. The price of cement has now come down to about N1300 in an environment where all the input costs are going up. The achievement is actually bigger than the figures.”