By Dipo Olowookere
The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) said its decision to restrict the allocation of foreign exchange (FX) for importing cement has resulted in a significant increase in local production of the product.
CBN Governor Mr. Godwin Emefiele said so on Thursday during the commissioning of the BUA Cement plant in Sokoto State.
Yesterday, President Muhammadu Buhari inaugurated the 3 million MTPA Line 4 Cement Plant, commending BUA Group Chairman Mr. Abdul Samad Rabiu for doing his utmost to support the economy.
During his speech at the event, the head of the CBN said that the restriction of access to forex for the import of cement and 42 other items had contributed to shifting the production capacity of the commodity in the country to 60 million metric tons in 2021, up from 30 million metric tons in 2014.
However, despite this large increase in local cement production, prices of the product in Nigeria have remained unchanged and Mr Emefiele wants manufacturers to do something about it, promising to support the manufacturing sector.
He commended BUA Cement for its efforts in constructing the plant without external financing, noting that such private sector initiatives were bearing fruit and were essential complementary ingredients in reducing unemployment and boosting production activities in Nigeria.
According to him, these investments helped support the CBN’s mandate to promote stable macroeconomic growth in Nigeria, ensuring that current and potential operators in the industrial sector that the bank was ready to work with them to enable the development of a sector viable manufacturing sector in Nigeria.
“For those who are ready to invest in new brownfield projects or existing brownfields, the CBN will provide all the necessary support, both in naira and in dollars needed to import plants and equipment to make these investments a reality.” , he pledged, adding that the position was directly in line with the CBN’s resolution to create a professional and people-centered central bank that will act as a financial catalyst for job creation and inclusive economic growth. in Nigeria.
Speaking further, Emefiele urged manufacturing companies in the country’s construction sector to focus more on meeting domestic needs in the infrastructure sector, with a view to reducing cement and steel prices.
Also speaking, Sokoto State Governor, Mr. Aminu Tambuwal commended the current administration for its commitment to revolutionize the manufacturing sector as evidenced by the cement manufacturing sector which now provides employment to Nigeria’s burgeoning population.
Likewise, the trio of M. Rabiu; Mr. Lawal Bello, President, Cement Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (CMAN); and engineer. Yusuf Binji, Managing Director of BUA Cement Plc, commended the efforts of the current administration and the CBN is working with stakeholders to boost Nigeria’s economy.