Nigeria seeks affordable cement and more home-skilled workers

Nigeria seeks affordable cement and more home-skilled workers
02 May 2012

The Minister of Trade and Investment, Dr Olusegun Aganga, has echoed the federal government's worry over the rising cost of cement and the importation of skilled workers for construction projects in the country.

He spoke during an interactive session at the recent Lagos Economic Summit and remarked that Nigeria has moved from a country that produced 2Mt of cement in 2000 to a country that now has the installed capacity to produce 27Mt of cement.

He also said that before the end of the year, Nigeria would launch the largest cement-producing plant in the world, which is a sign that the country has made remarkable progress in the cement sector.

Aganga further said that other progress recorded in the sector includes the country's ability to save foreign reserve from the amount hitherto spent on cement importation, besides creating more jobs and attracting about US$6bn worth of investment into the country.

He remarked that having focused on and achieved availability as part of government's promise, "what is now left to achieve is affordability.”

The minister expressed worry that the price was going up and when that happens, government wades in to find out what the problems are and decide what should be done. "I also understand that the ex-factory price today is about NGN1500 (US$9.50) but that is not what people are actually buying it," he added.

He also revealed that because of the initial teething problems, it takes some time before new cement plants operate to capacity.

"Another challenge they are having, has to do with is gas and diesel and we are also working towards resolving the problem of gas and the minister of petroleum has taken some initiatives in that direction that will have a positive impact on the cost of production," he said.

The minister also revealed that the government was planning to put in place a practical vocational skill development programme, as has been achieved in Brazil where they turn out between 2-4m graduates every year.

The minister said soon Nigerian workers would become trained and better qualified to handle the country's construction and automobile engineering needs and there would be no need to continue bringing in foreign workers.

Published under Cement News

Tagged Under: Nigeria Lagos