The Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, Tuesday, described the commissioning of the multi-million dollar BUA Cement Factory, Okpella, as a consolidation of Nigeria’s self-sufficiency in cement and a big boost to the nation’s export capacity.
Osinbajo stated this shortly before commissioning the first phase and the ground-breaking of the second phase of the three million ton-capacity ultra modern cement plant, located in Okpella, in Edo State
“I am extremely proud to be a Nigeria and so some of us here are. This is wholly Nigeria enterprise and to know that the plans, execution and successful establishment of this industrial complex was done by a Nigerian and by a Nigerian team. It is really great enough.
“The construction of this plant is of course, a big boast to the Nigerian economy, it will provide thousands of direct jobs and indirect jobs, both for skilled and unskilled workers from the commencement of the construction of the plant to the smooth-running of the operation processes.
“At the level of production obtain it also means the consolidation of the Nigeria’s self-sufficiency in cement and a big boost to our export capacity.
“I am happy to note that for the construction of power production facility for this plant, the BUA Group has used the most modern and efficient gas turbine which combines low and economically value-cost with a very high degree of reliability,” he said.
Osinbajo noted that the enterprise typifies the expectations of the present government in the economic and growth recovery plans which was launched by President Muhammadu Buhari on April 05, 2017, where the President made it clear that Nigeria’s economic emancipation and growth must be private sector-led and driven.
“There is simply no public sector resources that can match the resources, drive and the commitment of a private sector. And for us as a government, doing all we can to encourage investment of this type, it is not just a good idea but a corner stone of our economy policy.
“Worthy of mention is that our focus on combating the identified constraints to go such as fuel shortage, adequacy of power, absence to foreign exchange, unfriendly business regulations, shortage of skilled manpower among others,” Osinbajo said.
He reaffirmed the Buhari-led administration determination to continue with providing the enabling business environment, while going the extra mile to directly assist private sector in steadily growing our economy.
He added that the present administration is working very hard with the Industrial Policy Council to evolve and implement well-considered solutions to business impediments and economy stagnation in Nigeria.
While congratulating the Chairman of BUA Group, Abdulsamad Rabiu and the staff for the remarkable achievement, he added that he is “numbered among individuals in Nigeria who are properly described as entrepreneur, men and women running you, value added, job creating enterprises, using local resources and talents to create values and wealth.”
According to the Vice President, “this country will only grow and the talents and the resourcefulness of people like yourself who are ready to put their resources out to invest anywhere in the country, employ local people in that community and add new value in the lives of Nigerians.”
In his remark, the host Governor, Godwin Obaseki of Edo State, said the event marks the real industrialization of the State.
“Today, we salute the foresight and patriotism of the founding fathers of Edo State who, in 1964, established the Okpilla Cement For, which later became known as Edo Cement Company Limited.
“I am all very delighted that this commissioning today is also very much at the heart of the strategic transformation of our State’s economy. A state where large scale industrialization driven by the private sector capital is happy to create economic empowerment and impacting lives.
“From the very onset of our administration we promised Edo people that our change slogan was not mere rhetorics. From Agrobusiness and industrialization, through infrastructure to housing, education, science and technology we have never lost sight of the need to build a solid, productive and integrated economy with the interest of our people at the core.
“Our value for money approach has made some people uncomfortable, but I can assure you that our reforms and innovations will produce long-lasting results that will grow Edo economy that provide jobs and enhance our security”, he added.
The Governor saluted and congratulated the entrepreneurial spirits of BUA, for reinvesting in the plant, adding that by the time they finished the second line, they would have invested in excess of a billion dollar to produce cement.
“This facilities is also a clarion response to the calls of this administration to diversify our economy always from the over dependence on hydrocarbon.
“The goal of my administration is to make Edo state investor driven by encouraging businesses to take advantage of our rich natural endowments, not only in our fertile land, but our onshore oil and gas deposits and our abundance mineral deposits that are presence in this part of the state and couple with the friendly and good business climate which we have created.
“We are resolute in our promise to create 200, 000 jobs minimum during our first term in office. We hope to achieve this through encouraging various companies like BUA to invest in the opportunities provided by the favorable environment in the state.
“Our part of our institutional reforms initiative we have eliminated the ministry of housing and empower the Edo state property and development authority with the a mandate to promote social and commercial. It’s bold agenda will no doubt benefits from the production of activities of BUA cement , and as you know Edo is the heart beat if Nigeria accommodating diverse nationalities and interest. Therefore we see a huge opportunity in the housing business in our state.
“Our economy activities have entered a rather high gear in recent times with a lot of construction activities going on across the state as we speak BUA cement has TO worked very hard to satisfy the local demands for cement.
“In line with the federal government policy, Edo State is working very hard to improve the business environment and the ease of doing business by reducing the amount of times to obtain business approval, register property and also to ensure a fair tax system.
“It is my sincere hope that the Okpella community will see a lot of progress and development twitch the presence of this company here,” Obaseki said.
Earlier in his welcome address, the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of BUA Group, Abdulsamad Rabiu, said the commissioning of the cement factory has not only made Nigeria self-sufficient but also a net exporter of cement.
He noted that the cement sub-sector represent over 90 per cent of the Nigeria’s mining sector and employing some 30,000 people directly and over 2 million people indirectly, adding that it also saves the Nigeria economy over $2 billion in foreign exchange annually
“Our success stories will not be completed without telling you the beginning of our journey into the cement industry. BUA entered into the Nigeria cement industry in 2008 with the acquisition of BUA cement one in 2 million tons. BUA acquired public private stake in the Northern Nigeria cement company in Sokoto as well as in Edo cement company limited in 2009.
“The company therefore went onward to invest in the construction of a greenfield, three million tons plant at OBU which is being officially commissioned today by the Vice-President, Yemi Osinbajo.”