The Federal Government realised the sum of N5.44bn from the sale of its interests in various cement manufacturing companies in the country, according to a document obtained by our correspondent.
The document, prepared by the Bureau of Public Enterprises, showed that the Federal Government realised N918.32m from the sale of Benue Cement Company Plc, the first to be sold.
A total of 96.18 per cent equity of the company was sold to Dangote Industries Limited in May 2000.
Although the sale of the company had generated some controversies, the Federal Government proceeded in July 2000 with the sale of Cement Company of Northern Nigeria Plc.
Scancem of Norway acquired 87.38 per cent in it for N622.76m.
In October of the same year, 58.37 per cent shares in the West African Portland Cement were sold to Bluecircle Industries Limited.
In January 2001, 3.82 per cent equity of Bunue Cement Company Plc was sold to institutional investors for a sum of N42.61m, while in March 2001, 70.66 per cent equity in Ashaka Cement Company was sold to Bluecircle Industries Limited for N545.16m.
Another 12.62 per cent equity in the Cement Company of Northern Nigeria was sold to individuals and institutional investors in April 2001 at the sum of N97.84m. Also, 41.63 per cent equity of the West African Portland Cement Company Plc was sold to individuals and institutions.
In August 2002, 46.6 per cent equity in the Calabar Cement Company Limited was to Flour Mills and Holcim of Spain at a price of N216.08m.
Similarly, 10.72 per cent equity in Niger Cement Plc was sold to individuals and institutional investors at a consideration of N187.27m.
Despite the series of privatisation aimed at injecting fresh funds and increasing the capacity of the local cement manufacturing industry, the country has continued to depend on imports to augment huge demand for cement.
Even the recent granting of import licences to some companies to import bagged cement has not led to reduction of the perceived high cost of the product, neither has it adequately addressed the perennial issue of shortage in supply.