The implementation of the policy on 100 per cent local production of cement in Nigeria will now take effect from December 2007, the Minister for Industry, Fidelis Tapgun, has said.
Tapgun told reporters in an interview at the weekend in Abuja that by the end of next year, Nigeria would be self-sufficient in the local production of cement such that there would be no more importation of the commodity.
He said the shift in the date from January 1, 2006 to December 2007, was necessitated by the fact that many of the cement companies in the country had embarked on expansion programmes in their factories to increase their production capacities.
At the moment, cement factories are springing up allover the country. Flour Mills is building a cement factory in Calabar.
Ashaka, Ewekoro and Benue cement are all expanding. There is also WAPCO, Nkalagu and Ukpella.
“There are a few others and we have told them that unless they show proof that they are expanding into the development of green fields, which is building the factory itself, no more licence will be given to them to import cement,” the minister said.
He also explained that the federal government had continued to allow the importation of bulk cement because current local production fell far short of the domestic demand.
“The capacity we can produce internally cannot meet the national demand. The President allows the importation of the difference required to satisfy domestic needs and we give allocation to the cement companies according to their capacity in order to bridge the gap.” he said.
Nigeria currently produces about 2.5Mt of cement annually and consumes 10Mt while about 8Mt is imported to bridge the gap.
Tapgun said that the Dangote Cement Company, located at Obajana, Kogi State, which is the largest in the country, with a production capacity of 5 million tonnes per annum, would start production by January 2007.
“With the ongoing expansion work in the cement industry in the country, I’m not sure we will be importing cement any more by the end of next year,” Tapgun said.