FG hails Dangote for revitalizing privatized firms

By The Citizen

The Federal Government has commended the Chairman of Dangote Cement Plc, Aliko Dangote, for reviving privatized companies, despite huge challenges in the Nigeria's business climate.

Minister of National Planning, Shamsudeen Usman, gave the commendation during his visit to the Dangote Cement Plant in Gboko, Benue State. He expressed delight that the Dangote Group, a local company, has not let the country down in its acquisition of some of the privatized companies.

He said: 'I know that many privatized companies are doing well. Dangote Cement is one of them. The whole essence of privatization is to improve efficiency and promote investments and employment generation.'

Shamsuddeen advised the host communities of privatized firms to cooperate with the new owners to enhance optimum capacity utilization and industrialization in the country, adding that they stand a chance of benefiting more if the company receives their support.

'Such host communities would gain more employment opportunities and other social activities implemented by the companies,' he said. The minister explained that the visit was a fact-finding one aimed at ascertaining the true state of already privatized public enterprises, especially in view of the feeling in many quarters that many of them are not performing well.

Dangote Cement has upgraded the former Benue Cement Company's (BCC) capacity to 3.0 million metric tonnes per annum (MMTPA) from the initial installed operating capacity of 0.9 MTPA, the Plant Director, Prakash Sharma said at the weekend when the Minister visited the plant.

Sharma said the new owners have already invested $500million in plant rehabilitation and technological convergence, while an additional $50million is being invested in the on-going expansion project to raise capacity to 4.0 MMTPA.

With its Obajana and Ibese plants, the Dangote Cement currently produces about 20MTPA, surpassing Nigeria's national average demand.