President Goodluck Jonathan, yesterday, performed the ground-breaking of the N100bn expansion project for Ashaka Cement’s new 2.5million metric-tonne capacity cement production line in Gombe, North East Nigeria.
The project, which has a completion period of three years, will see the company’s current production capacity increased from over one million metric tonnes to about four million metric tonnes while creating a lot of jobs.
The president, who was represented by the Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Mr. Olusegun Aganga, said the new investment was a testimony of global investors’ growing confidence in the Nigerian economy as well as the Federal Government’s commitment to transforming the Nigerian economy, carrying every region along.
He said this on the backdrop of plans by Government to bring down the price of cement.
The President reiterated that the current administration would continue to provide a conducive environment for industry, trade and investments to thrive in line with his Transformation Agenda.
He said, “The cement industry is a perfect example of the transformation that can happen in an industry based on the focused implementation of a well-thought out policy and a continuous partnership that harnesses the expertise of the private sector and the capacity of the public sector.
“The commencement of the capacity expansion of AshakaCem Plc’s cement production project further buttresses the confidence that global investors have in the Nigerian economy, which is now the largest economy in Africa”.
President Jonathan added, “As at 2002, the local cement industry had the capacity to barely produce two million metric tonnes per annum. By the year 2013, this had grown to 28.5 million metric tonnes and we expect the installed capacity to be about 39 million metric tonnes by the end of this year”.
He noted that Nigeria had become a net exporter of cement, saying that “this is something that we all should be proud of”.
He pointed out that the Federal Government had initiated a plan of action that would enhance the consumption and exportation of cement, enhance skills development and innovation in the industry and bring down the price of cement.
The president maintained that his administration would continue to provide both the incentives and the conducive environment to make the cement industry globally competitive in line with the Nigeria Industrial Revolution Plan.