CBN Attributes Increase in Local Cement Production to FX Restriction
By Dipo Olowookere
The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has said its decision to restrict the allocation of foreign exchange (FX) for the importation of cement resulted in a significant increase in the local production of the product.
Governor of the CBN, Mr Godwin Emefiele, said this on Thursday at the commissioning of the BUA Cement factory in Sokoto State.
Yesterday, President Muhammadu Buhari inaugurated the 3-million MTPA Line 4 cement plant, commending the Chairman of BUA Group, Mr Abdul Samad Rabiu, for doing everything possible to support the economy.
During his speech at the event, the CBN chief said restricting access to forex for the importation of cement and other 42 items has helped to boost the production capacity of the commodity in the country to 60 million metric tonnes in 2021 from 30 million metric tonnes in 2014.
However, despite this broad increase in the local cement production, prices of the product in Nigeria have remained and Mr Emefiele wants manufacturers to do something about it, promising to support the manufacturing sector.
He commended the BUA Cement for its effort in constructing the plant with no external finance, noting that such private sector initiatives were yielding fruits and were critical complementary ingredients to reducing unemployment and boosting production activities in Nigeria.
According to him, such investments helped to support the CBN’s mandate of promoting stable macro-economic growth in Nigeria, assuring that the current and prospective operators in the industrial sector that the bank stood ready to collaborate with them in enabling the development of a viable manufacturing sector in Nigeria.
“For those who are willing to invest in new greenfield or existing brownfield projects, the CBN will provide all the support needed, both in Naira and dollars needed to import plants and equipment to actualize these investments,” he pledged, adding that the stance was directly in harmony with the resolve of the CBN to create a professional and people-centred Central Bank that will act as a financial catalyst for job creation and inclusive economic growth in Nigeria.
Speaking further, Mr Emefiele urged manufacturing companies in the construction sector of the country to focus more attention on satisfying the domestic needs in the infrastructure sector, with a view to reducing the prices of cement and steel.
Also speaking, the Governor of Sokoto State, Mr Aminu Tambuwal, commended the current administration for its commitment towards revolutionizing the manufacturing sector, as exemplified in the cement manufacturing sector, which now provides jobs for Nigeria’s teeming population.
Similarly, the trio of Mr Rabiu; Mr Lawal Bello, Chairman, Cement Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (CMAN); and Engr. Yusuf Binji, the Managing Director, BUA Cement Plc, lauded the efforts of the current administration and the CBN is collaborating with stakeholders to boost the economy of Nigeria.