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By NBF News
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Following its strategic plan to increase its production capacity and keep pace with the growth in the Nigerian Cement market, Lafarge Cement WAPCO Plc has commissioned its N750 billion investment in Ogun State, which has the capacity to produce eight million tones of cement yearly.

Speaking at the inauguration ceremony, Chairman of the Board of Directors, Chief Olusegun Osunkeye explained that the state-of-the art cement plant worth N750 billion (€350 million), will more than double the output of the plant to 4.5 million tonnes, noting that about 12,000 tonnes of cement will be supplied to the market every day. I

Accordiing to him , In total, Lafarge can now domestically manufacture eight million tones of cement every year.'

Osunkeye said 'The project Lafarge WAPCO commenced the Lakatabu ( massive) project to increase its production capacity by approximately 2.5 million metric tones of cement per annum to enable the company keep pace with the growth in the Nigerian cement market and maintain market share.'

'The commissioning of Ewekoro II not only marks another remarkable milestone in the annals of our company, but also in the economic and industrial development of this great nation and Africa as a continent'

He noted that the expanded operations in Ewekoro will employ almost 1,000 people and injected over six billion naira into the local economy every year through salaries, taxes, the use of local contractors and suppliers where possible and partnerships with the community.

'This new plant helps to keep Nigeria self-sufficient in cement. It will create the foundations for future economic development in our country. It will employ, and provide skills for hundreds of Nigerians and it will benefit hundreds more indirectly.'

In his own remarks, the Lafarge Group Chairman and CEO, Mr Bruno Lafont said Africa is an important region for Lafarge adding that Nigeria is a key country for all, particularly because of the strong bonds built with customers and communities during the 10 years of its operation.

'We remain fully committed to this country, working in partnership with our customers in providing high-quality and innovative products that will add value to their businesses. Throughout the long history of our operations, our products have helped shape the Nigerian landscape and will continue to do so for many years to come.'

He disclosed that the construction of a brand new onsite 90 MW power plant was included in the project also that the new plant, which was commissioned by Ogun State Governor, Senator Ibikunle Amosun, will supply the electricity required for the cement-making process, to reduce the impact of fluctuations in the energy supply on production.

'In line with WAPCO's commitment to providing local job opportunities, 3,000 people were engaged during the three-year construction of the state-of-the-art plant - 70 per cent of whom were Nigerians. The whole Ewekoro site now employs nearly 1,000 people, 95 per cent of whom are Nigerian,' he said.