In a bid to stay ahead of competition, the West African Portland Cement Company Plc (WAPCO) Nigeria has earmarked N2 billion for upgrading and modernising its plants at Ewekoro and Sagamu this year. The company is also to adopt the European standard of cement manufacturing. Managing Director of the company, Mr. ’Ranti Shokunbi disclosed these during an interactive session with journalists in Lagos.
"We have been working quietly with the Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON) to adopt the European standard of cement. We will be spending about five million Euros on each of our plants this year alone, bringing our total expenditure to 10 million Euros, that’s about N2 billion.
"We are aware of government’s decision to ban importation so as to encourage local production of cement. Definitely, many companies will spring up to start manufacturing cement, we welcome it. The national demand for cement is 6Mt out of which about 2Mt is produced locally, so we need more local manufacturers. We want to take advantage of this opportunity. We will make sure that our products are environmentally friendly and can compete globally," he said.
Accordingly, he stressed that WAPCO has already commenced the improvement of all aspects of its operations, including stakeholder relationship, technical as well as industrial issues.
"In Ewekoro for instance, we want to consolidate our resources. We have therefore commenced a geological survey on what is there and how many years it will last us. We will also be spending money to improve the quality and quantity of the products we have. We have just installed new packaging equipment which would package 20,000t daily," the WAPCO MD added.
Earlier, Chief Executive Officer, WAPCO, Mr. George Lourandos, disclosed that the company has just launched a new product, christened ’New Dawn,’ that has to do with volume maximisation, enhanced internal control, improvement of management, process systems and Information Technology.
Elaborating on Shokunbi’s statement on plants upgrade and reinforcing social responsibility to host communities, he said: "Our target is to achieve outstanding relationship with our host communities. We will spend money to improve the communities and reinforce our community relations. In spite of the constraints we have we will allocate more funds. "We will be meeting with the Sagamu people this week (last week) to explain how we will operate within the community to them. Our stakeholders need not worry because we have the support of our board," he assured.