The backward integration policy of the Federal Government in the cement sub-sector of the economy is to receive further boost today as President Goodluck Jonathan commissions additional 5.25million metric tonnes per annum (mtpa) Dangote Cement Obajana Plant Line 3 in the match towards freeing the nation from cement importation.
Also, the President will be performing the ground breaking for the fourth line of the plant expected to generate additional three million mtpa.
With the commissioning of the new line 3, the production capacity of the Obajana Plant would be raised to 10.25 million mtpa and by 2015 when the fourth line would have been completed, the entire four lines would be having a combined production capacity of 13.25 million mtpa, thus making the plant the single biggest plant in the world.
The development according to the company “is in the fulfillment of the promise by Chairman of the Cement Group, Alhaji Aliko Dangote last February during the commissioning of the six million mtpa Ibese plant, that the cement company was aiming to lead the way in the production of the commodity to meet home demands as well as having excess for exportation.”
With the continuous expansion of the existing plants in the country and its operations across 14 other African countries, Dangote Cement will remain one of the largest producers in Africa and world over.
Dangote said today’s event would mark a milestone not only for the company but also for Nigeria, pointing out that the Obajana project would make the cement company the power house of cement in Africa.
The Chairman, who attributed the company’s success story in local cement production to the Federal Government’s backward integration policy of encouraging local production in preference to importation, added that the current increase in the capacities of other local cement manufacturers has ushered Nigeria into a new phase of industrialisation.
With this development, he emphasized; the era of cement importation into the country is over as manufacturers now have capacity to surpass local demand.
He said Dangote Cement would be converting its import terminals to export terminals in readiness for exportation of its excess capacity in cement production to neighbouring West African countries, where there is a deficit in supply of the product.
Dangote added that the long-term ambition of the company is to produce about 60 mmtpa of cement by the year 2015, a development that will place Dangote cement among the top eight cement producing companies in the world.
Expressing faith in the Nigerian economy, he noted that investment opportunities abound in various sectors such as power, agriculture and oil and gas and therefore challenged other investors to exploit these opportunities and reap returns on their investments.
Said he; “For us at Dangote Group, we are convinced that home-grown economies will enable Africa to take her destiny in her own hands”, adding: “that is why we want to place Nigeria on the world map as a major cement producing nation. We have what it takes to spearhead the economic emancipation of the continent.”
Senators, Members of the House of Representatives, Ministers, State Governors, Captains of Industry, Bank CEOs, Diplomats, Traditional Rulers, and other dignitaries are expected to grace the occasion in Kogi State.
It would be recalled that former President Olusegun Obasanjo had on May 23, 2007 commissioned the 5 million mtpa capacity Obajana lines I and 2 with a call on other entrepreneurs to emulate the Dangote group Chairman in his quest to help stimulate the economy by focusing on manufacturing rather than importation.
He had while praising the doggedness of Alhaji Dangote said: “Nothing can be achieved unless we drive ourselves to achieve success. All that should be put together must be put together. If after 50 years we can produce only 2.5 million metric tonnes of cement and just now the Obajana plant is producing much higher quantity within a short time, then we are moving forward.”