FOR about 10 years now, Nigeria has remained the country with the highest cement price in the world, national chairman, Cement Producers Association of Nigeria (CEPAN), David Iweta, has said.
Besides, he said despite claims by the three major cement plant owners in the country, Nigeria will need additional seven to 10 million metric tonnes (mmts) per annum to meet local demand, no thanks to increase in housing and infrastructure construction.
Speaking with the Nigerian Tribune in Lagos, Iweta maintained that the high cement price in the country was due to the inability of the industry to meet the demands for the commodity.
“If you check the price of cement anywhere in the world, Nigeria has the highest price.
Presently, Dangote produces 17mmts, BUA, – 10mmts and Larfarge, -7mmts. There is need for additional 10mmts to meet demand,” Iweta said.
Suggesting ways out, the national chairman of CEPAN called on President Bola Tinubu to end the monopoly in cement production and distribution by allowing other players to come in.
He called for the inclusion of companies with verifiable local investments in cement within the participation scope.
According to Iweta, government should deliberately encourage new players into the industry by giving licences for limestone exploration to produce locally.
Besides, he urged government to encourage financial institutions to support the initative.
Iweta said: “The only remedy is for the government to allow those with unuti-lised cement licences to be brought in. I mean the quarry licenses that were given to us to produce cement locally, which should have been ex-pired, it should be updated so that when we finish those quantity (500,000 mmts import each), we will now start producing locally and that will be within the period of two to three years.”
“As we bring the imported product for the interim supply to fill the gap, after we will all go back into local production.”
Justifying the call in a letter addressed to Tinubu, he pointed out that cement, being the major requirement to bridge the infrastructure gap, housing deficit, revenue earner, amongst other construction activities in the country, must meet demand at a reasonable pricing as in most parts of the world.
Source: Tribune Newspaper