By Dipo Olowookere
Barring any last minute changes, the $300 million cement grinding plant in Congo built by Dangote Cement Plc will commence operations before the end of this month. The factory is precisely located at Bouansa, Congo, and information reaching us has it that it is about 99 percent completed.
When fully operational, the cement plant hopes to meet the demand for cement in the country as well as those in the neighbouring countries within the region. Its production capacity is by at least 1.5 million metric tonnes (MMT), bringing its total yearly manufacturing capacity to about 32 million tonnes.
“Satisfying the current demand of the construction market in general, saving foreign currency expenditure and generating employment opportunities, are some of the benefits of this project,” the Plant Director for Congo Operations, Mr Ganapathy Balasubramanian, stated while giving insights into the company’s operations.
He said further that the 1.5 MMT capacity grinding plant, when operations begin, will increase the total capacity of local cement production in the francophone nation and provide direct and indirect jobs for over 1,600 people from within the country and other neighbouring countries.
At the Annual General Meeting (AGM) of Dangote Cement Plc held last month, it was disclosed that pan-African operations of the firm generated about 31.7 percent to the N615.1 billion total turnover of the company in 2016.
According to the Group Chief Executive Officer of Dangote Cement Plc, Mr Onne van der Weijde, the expansion strategy of the company yielded fruits last year when Nigeria was in recession as the plants across Africa contributed significantly to the company’s turnover.
“We can see how that strategy has helped us in a time that our main market of Nigeria is facing a recession, high inflation, lower consumer spending and a shortage of foreign currency to fund essential imports.
“But outside of Nigeria we’ve had operations that have now been running for more than a year and they are experiencing good growth and improving profitability, so we have managed to offset some of those topline pressures in Nigeria with revenue streams from countries in very different parts of the continent.
“Furthermore, those Pan-African operations are helping to generate foreign currency for the Group, so this shows how a long-term decision to diversify can help with a short-term pressure like an illiquid currency market in Nigeria,” he had said at the AGM, where the pay-out of N144.8 billion dividend to its shareholders was approved.
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