The Minister of Commerce and Industry, Mr Charles Ugwu, has in Abuja predicted that demand for cement in the country will rise to about 17Mt in 2008.
“Unfortunately, as at today, only about 4Mt are produced, though production will push up to about 7Mt with the new capacity being built.
Ugwu, who gave these figures at a meeting with stakeholders in the industry said: “Yet a deficit of about 10Mt is recorded”.
He said government would allocate the shortfalls to investors in the downstream sector to import.
“Blending of the cheap imported product with the locally manufactured products will allow Nigerians to enjoy better prices, “ he said.
He said the meeting was a working session where every stakeholder had an opportunity to explain specific problems of the sector to address both supply and price situations.
“I have read the files and heard the situation in the industry, the president has called me and said the situation must change within a short time,” Ugwu said.
The Minister said government was aware of the agony faced over road transportation and other logistics, adding that the president was committed to seeing major improvement in the provision of vital infrastructure.
“But the president has expressed a great deal of anxiety that in every commodity where government has intervened to support local manufacturers, things have always been worse, rather than getting better.”