Joseph Makoju, chairman of the Cement Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (CMAN), has predicted an end to the perennial scarcity of cement in Nigeria by the end of the year.
In an interview with the Daily Independent, Makoju said: "by the end of 2011 the importation of cement would be a thing of the past going by the quantity of cement being churned out by the producers in the country… The total demand for the product in the country last year, was 7Mt but as of now, the demand had fallen to 6Mt."
He was quick to add that when all the local producers of cement combine what they would be expected to produce by the end of the year, the volume of cement in Nigeria would increase to 17Mt which would be more than the total required demand.
He gave a breakdown of the projection by all the producers of the commodity before the end of the year as follows: Gboko plant 3Mta, Lafarge 2.5Mta ,Obajana 10.5Mta and Ibeshe 6Mta, totalling 17Mta.
Makoju hinted that according to this forecast, there was no way the country would ever lack cement, adding that the shortage presently being experienced could be attributed to the activities of middlemen.
He added that as a result of the benefits they were deriving from cement imports, they were not comfortable with the activities of the indigenous cement producers who were bent on making the scarcity of the product a thing of the past.
According to him, the backward integration policy of the federal government was put in place to assist the local producers of cement in making the country self-sufficient. He added that the country has enough raw materials to achieve this target and that imports must cease to help the economy grow.