Dangote Cement begins construction of new plants with 9 m tonnes capacity in Edo, Ogun states

By The Rainbow

Dangote Cement Plc has announced the commencement of the construction of new cement plants in two communities in the country, a move that will further consolidate its leadership position in the sector.

The Group Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of Dangote Cement Plc, Devakumar Edwin, said the the new plants are expected to add 9 million metric tonnes per annum to the company's current local cement output of 29.25 million metric tonnes.

The new plants when they come on stream will bring the company”s  total production to  38.25 million metric tonnes per annum.

According to the company, the new plants will be sited at Okpella in the northern part of Edo State, South South of Nigeria, with a three million per annum plant, and Itori in Ogun State South West of Nigeria with  another six million per annum capacity plants in , South West of the country.

Edwin made the announcement in Lagos, explained that the Okpella plant will be made up of one line and will produce a total of 3 million metric tonnes per annum, and the Itori plant, which will deliver approximately 6 million tonnes per annum from two production lines.

Both plants are expected to come on stream within the next three years.

Edwin said the move by the company was to help expand the spread of the company's manufacturing outfits, thereby reducing the transportation cost component of their operations.

He added that the new investments will further lower cost of production, bring about future reduction of the price of cement and also to generate employment opportunities for the youths of the host communities.

Also speaking at the event, the Group Managing Director, Cement, Dangote Industries Limited, Onne Vander Weijde, said the demand for cement was still high considering the level of population growth in Nigeria.

Weijde said Nigeria's per capita consumption of the building material, which is just above 100kg per capita, is relatively low, indicating a massive growth potential.

He said: “There has always been a surplus in demand because cement was not readily available, but ours is available and the prices are affordable.

“Consumer prices have fallen by 35 per cent in naira terms, but if you take it in dollar terms and relate it with today's parallel market rates, you will realise the price of the product has gone down in Nigeria and in some cases below the prevailing average global price.

“This itself is a huge driver for increasing the per capita consumption.”

Weijde said with the capacity of the plants in Nigeria, the company can supply the entire western and central Africa region, adding that currently, Dangote Cement is exporting cement to Niger, Ghana and Togo, with plans to move up to Ivory Coast.

He said: “Nigeria had always been an import-dependent country in terms of cement in the past and if we do not add up capacities, we will not be able to match up the consumption rate in the country.

“We want to ensure that we are always one step ahead to meet the local demand for the commodity.”

According to Weijde, the investments would create in excess of 5,000 jobs at the beginning stage, noting that logistics and construction of the plants would also provide more employment opportunities indirectly to surpass that amount.

In his remarks, the Special Adviser to the President of Dangote Group, Joseph Makanju, said expectations were very high about cement price reduction when the nation began building local cement production capacity.

Makanju noted that those price reduction expectations were now being met with cement now selling at about N1,300 per 50kg bag, among the most affordable in the world.

He said: “Before now, cement was selling for over N2,000.

“There is a lesson here to learn for the country and the media has a big role to play in this because when you go through transformation by moving a country from being dependent on import, there is need to encourage local investment to make those products being imported into the country.

“I am using this medium to appeal to the media by saying they have a huge role to play.

“You can refer to the cement story to educate the public.

“The price of cement has now come down to about N1,300 in an environment where all the input costs are going up.

“The achievement is actually bigger than the figures.”

Expressing the excitement of the community on the announcement of the commencement of the new plant in Okpella, a community leader, Chief Calib Musa, said they had long awaited the move by Dangote to commence the construction of the factory.

Musa said Okpella people are happy and would give all the necessary cooperation to Dangote Cement.

He said: “The investment is a very welcomed development.

“Dangote has the full support of our people because we know that the initiative will be beneficial to us and the company as well.”

He stressed that communities around the world wish and pray for opportunities like this to come to their way and Okpella leaders, people and youths are happy with Dangote for his decision to contribute to the development of our land.

Musa explained that the investment move was long due, adding that all the noise about the community not supporting Dangote Cement was a ruse.

“We are happy with Dangote we want him to move very fast and we thank him immensely.