By Modupe Gbadeyanka
The new 1.5m Metric Tonnes cement factory built in Sokoto State by the Executive Chairman/CEO BUA Group, Mr Abdul Samad Rabiu, has commenced operations.
The plant was commissioned on Tuesday by Nigeria’s Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, with some top government functionaries in attendance.
The billionaire businessman, who is one of the main rivals of Africa’s richest man, Mr Aliko Dangote, in the cement industry, said his $350 million cement factory remains the single largest investment in North Western part of the country.
According to him, the new plant will provide direct jobs for about 2000 people and indirect jobs for another 10,000 people.
Mr Rabiu commended President Muhammadu Buhari for bringing forth policies that favours investment, while also recalling how the Vice President, about 10 months ago, also commissioned the BUA Cement 3 million tonnes Greenfield plant in Okpella, Edo State.
“Your Excellency Sir, the plant which you are commissioning today, is very unique – from various viewpoints – be it its location, its economic value and social impact, huge limestone deposits, human capital potential amongst others. These were some of the things we took into consideration when we made the decision to site this plant here.
“I must say however that this project would not have been possible without the effort by the President Muhammadu Buhari led administration to put deliberate policies in place to support key industries in the real sector – from agriculture to manufacturing.
“Through these policies, the CBN provided enough foreign exchange for heavy machinery to come in and this was helpful in completing the project on schedule. I therefore want to commend the administration for the policy because without that, it may not have been possible to complete the plant.
“Mr Vice President Sir, let me add that what we have done here is a pointer to the fact that Nigeria is ready for business with the right policies and right operating environment,” he said.
Also speaking at the commissioning, Governor of Sokoto State, Mr Aminu Tambuwal, disclosed that Sokoto is one of the states in Nigeria with lots of unexplored natural resources.
Mr Tambuwal, who said his administration has created enabling environment for investors in the state, added that the state’s independent power project was already 80 percent completed.
The Governor further admonished BUA Group to continue with its commendable corporate social responsibly work in the host community and state at large.
On his part, the Vice President, Mr Yemi Osinbajo, said the significance of the company cannot be over emphasised.
While stressing that the nation’s investment level is simply 35 percent of the total GDP, Mr Osinbajo advised that working with the private sector is the only way to go towards boosting the economy.
According to him, the president Muhammadu Buhari led government has come up with numerous business friendly policies towards achieving the aim of ensuring that every state in Nigeria can compete with every country in Africa in terms of investment opportunities.
He advocated for the use of cement in constructing roads on grounds because, according to him, it is cheaper and better.
However, he urged BUA Group and Dangote Groups of companies to see the possibility of reducing the price of cement so as to close the deficit.
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