The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, has said BUA Cement’s massive increase in production, especially since 2015, was made possible by the conducive business environment provided by the Federal Government.
The Minister, who stated this during a media tour of BUA Cement’s Sokoto Plant on Wednesday, listed the favourable conditions as including the granting of Pioneer Status which enables BUA Cement to enjoy tax holiday; the ban on importation of cement; backward integration policy and the divestment of government shares from cement companies.
”Thanks to these conditions, BUA Cement has recorded more than 300 per cent increase in production between 2015 and now. That’s from 3.5 million tonnes per annum in 2015 to 11 million tonnes per annum now,” he said
Alhaji Mohammed said the Sokoto Plant has created 10,000 direct and indirect jobs, and is also earning foreign exchange for the country by exporting its products to Niger, which is just 100 kilometres from the location of the plant, as well as Burkina Faso, especially during the raining season when construction work is at its lowest point.
He commended the Chairman of BUA Cement, Alhaji Abdul Samad Rabiu (and his entire team), for his undying belief in Nigeria, saying: ”There is no better indication of BUA’s support for the government’s economic diversification and job creation agenda than the company’s massive investments in Nigeria.”
The Minister said that in the last five years, BUA has completed four new cement plants of similar capacity in different parts of the country and is set to complete two more plants soon. It is expected that total production for BUA Cement will amount to 17 million tonnes per annum by 2023.
Alhaji Mohammed, who was taken on a guided tour of the Sokoto Plant by the Managing Director of BUA Cement, Engineer Yusuf Binji, said the 3 million tonnes per annum line IV of the Sokoto Plant, which was commissioned by President Muhammadu Buhari in January this year, has taken the combined installed capacity of the factory’s Lines 2,3 and 4 to 5 million tonnes per annum.
The Minister described the Sokoto Plant as one of the most modern cement plants anywhere, with gas analyzers used in regulating carbo emissions released into the atmosphere; air purifying mechanisms set up to enhance the quality of air released from the cement manufacturing process and filters that are capable of capturing 99.9% of dust in order to make the environment healthy and conducive for the workers and customers alike.
He said the Sokoto Plant is the first cement plant in Nigeria to use Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) to generate power, thereby replacing coal in its kiln, adding that the plant generates 50MW of electricity to power its production machinery.
”This has made the plant environmentally friendly to also curb climate change. I am sure when the AKK gas pipeline project is completed, it will drastically reduce the time and cost of transporting gas, which is currently being trucked from Port Harcourt to the plant. At least 20 trucks of LNG are brought here daily from Port Harcourt. Imagine the costs and the logistic challenges involved in this,” Alhaji Mohammed said
The Minister, who was accompanied by about 30 journalists, said the tour of the BUA Cement’s Sokoto Plant is his fifth media tour of public and private sector projects across the country in the past two months, with others being the Dangote Petroleum Refinery and Petrochemicals as well as the Dangote Fertilizer in Lagos; the Lekki Deep Sea Port in Lagos and the Duchess Hospital, also in Lagos.
In his presentation, the Managing Director of the company, Engineer Binji, said the Sokoto plant is operating at over 90 per cent of its installed capacity and loading between 250 and 270 trucks per day. The plant has a total of 700 trucks for cement distribution.
He said BUA Cement, which is listed on the Nigerian Stock Exchange with a market capitalization of N2.5 trillion, is the fourth largest company on the NSE; the second largest cement producer in the Nigeria with 25 percent of the market and the largest cement producer in the country’s North West, South South and South East.
Engineer Binji said BUA Cement has also invested heavily in Corporate Social Responsibility, noting that the company is involved in the provision of health services, scholarship for students, provision of housing, roads, electricity, etc.