Nigeria’s Minister of Trade and Investment, Mr. Olusegun Aganga, has said that the 10-year implementation of the Backward Integration Policy (BIP) in the cement industry has resulted in about $6 billion investments in the sector with 28 million ton capacity, up from 2 million ton scapacity.
Aganga told stakeholders at a meeting on Monday in Abuja that the cement industry “provides direct and indirect employment for about two million people and that there is no industrial policy that has been as successful as the BIP in the cement industry”.
He disclosed that the implementation of the BIP had saved the country foreign exchange of about N210 billion (about US$1.4 billion) per year.
He however stressed the need to carry out a deeper review of the cement sector to make it more competitive locally and internationally.
Aganga told the meeting that the committee would be set up “before the end of this week” to commence the review.
“This is the key message I want to pass across in terms of where we are today and what our plans are in terms of where we want to be going,” promising to carry along the stakeholders in the implementation of the policy.
“This is so that at the end of the day, it will be a win-win situation for all the manufacturers, consumers and the Nigerian economy at large,” he said.
According to him, Nigeria has reached a point where it should be thinking about exporting some of its products.
He noted that the review of the policy was sequel to the “tremendous” success recorded through the introduction and rigorous implementation of the BIP in the cement industry.
“We have achieved everything we set for ourselves 10 years ago when the BIP was introduced; we want to take the next step as part of our strategy on the way forward.
“This means that we need to look at the overall structure, including the current pricing, availability, affordability, in addition to developing an export strategy for the sector,” he said.
He described the cement sector as one of the sectors that “Nigeria should and will be rightly known for as one of the greatest contributors to the Gross Domestic Product of the country”.
Before the meeting, some stakeholders in the cement industry were complaining of the glut in the local cement market and that the current price of cement locally was no longer competitive to the local plants.
Already, two local cement plants have been shut down while the third plant has scaled down production due to the glut in the cement market in Nigeria which has forced some cement factories to scale down their operations.
“This is the key message I want to pass across in terms of where we are today and what our plans are in terms of where we want to be going. He promised to carry along the stakeholders in the implementation of the policy.
Source African Press Agency
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