Nigeria’s Minister of Commerce and Industry, Mr Charles Ugwuh, has stated that the first batch of bagged cement for which seven companies were issued licenses by the federal government last month will arrive the country’s shore in August.
The minister who addressed newsmen yesterday in Lagos Said all the seven firms granted approval in June to import the bagged cement were expected to bring in 3.7 million bags, while the 13 firms initially granted approval to import bulk cement were expected to ship in 4.3Mt.
Ugwuh said that the cement would be received at designated ports in Lagos, Warri and Onne in Port Harcourt.
He explained that his ministry was aware that those given the approval to import the product had understanding with their foreign partners from whom they ordered the bagged product.
Stating some of the guidelines for the importation of bagged cement, Ugwuh said “Part of the conditions given is that it must be branded to minimum specifications to meet Nigerian standards and shipments must also come promptly, for early delivery to the country.”
He said the Nigeria Ports Authority (NPA), Nigeria Customs Services (NCS) and other relevant agencies at the port had been directed to facilitate the quick clearing of the products.
He expressed satisfaction with the progress made so far by the stakeholders on the importation exercise since they were granted approval.
Ugwuh said that government decided to embark on mass importation of bagged cement to check the soaring prices of cement at the local markets and to encourage the development of the nation’s economy.
He explained that the various cement stakeholders were duly consulted before the federal government opted for the mass importation of the bagged cement.
The minister, however, said that government could not guarantee that the mass importation would lead to a crash in the prices of the product.
He however stated that government is aware that stakeholders would likely reduce the price to about N1, 100 after the new products arrive.
The Federal Government last month granted seven firms new permits to import bagged cement and also produce the commodity locally. The allocations will allow the firms to import bagged cement into the country, in the short-tern, and, in the medium term, begin local production. The companies include Minaj Holdings Limited, Enugu, owned by Senator Mike Ajegbo; Made Well Products, Sapele, promoted by Mr. David Iweda and Bua International Limited, Kano, owned by Isiaku Rabiu.