…Now saves N240bn annually
More details of the success story of Cement backward integration in 2002 has been revealed by the Procurement Director, Lafarge Africa Plc, Lolu Alade-Akinyemi, at the ongoing 23rd Nigeria Economic Summit in Abuja.
He explained that backward integration which translates to rising local production of cement was driven by favourable government policies from 2002, saying “Today, installed capacity has grown from two million to 32 million metric tons”.
“Increased local capacity in the manufacture of cement has so far attracted $6 billion in investments” said Lolu Alade-Akinyemi, Procurement Director, Lafarge Africa Plc, yesterday.
He also called for backward integration policies in other sectors where Nigeria has a comparative advantage, saying this will promote forex-earning export rather than import substitution.
Giving insights on this year’s summit theme; ‘Opportunities, Productivity and Employment’, Alade-Akinyemi argued that through increased capacity and investments, the industrial policy of the government has harnessed Nigeria’s huge limestone deposit saving the country N240 billion per year.
“The manufacturing industry is the key to unlocking Nigeria’s economic potential with a multiplier effect on economic activity which drives tax revenue for the government.
“The Federal Government realised that cement production is one of the areas which Nigeria has a comparative advantage and there was no reason why we should not supply cement to countries within Africa.
“In over a decade, Nigeria has gone from a top 10 cement importer to a net exporter of cement – earning dollars and lessening the strain on foreign exchange.
According to Lafarge Africa, “the backward integration policy on cement has pushed jobs both direct and indirect for about two million people. It has also boosted local content, productivity and innovation. The growth of the cement industry has also broadened government’s tax base”.
Business Hilights recalls that Lafarge Africa has jerked up local content in key raw materials using alternative fuel (biomass) and locally mined coal.
It would be recalled that the company recently celebrated the emergence of second production capacity at its Mfamosing plant in Calabar to five million metric tons, expanding significantly Lafarge Africa’s footprint in Nigeria and West Africa.