by Emmanuel Okubenji
The Federal Government has announced that it would review its Backward Integration Policy (BIP) on cement in order to consolidate the “tremendous” success it recorded so far. Minister of Trade and Investment, Olusegun Aganga, said this in Abuja during a meeting he held with stakeholders in the cement industry.
According to Aganga, a committee would be set up “before the end of this week” to commence the review. He said that the review of the policy was as a result of the success recorded through the introduction and rigorous implementation of the Backward Integration Policy in the cement industry.
“We have achieved everything we set for ourselves 10 years ago when the Backward Integration Policy was introduced; we want to take the next step as part of our strategy on the way forward.
“After 10 years of implementation of BIP with two million tonnes capacity, the good news is that today, we have about 28 million tonnes capacity of cement and investment of about six billion dollars.
“More so, it provides direct and indirect employment for about two million people,” he said.
According to the minister, there is no industrial policy that has been as successful as the BIP in the cement industry. He also hinted that the implementation of the BIP had saved the country foreign exchange of about N210 billion per year, but stressed the need to carry out a deeper review of the cement sector to make it more competitive locally and internationally.
According to him, Nigeria has reached a point where it should be thinking about exporting some of its products.
“This means that we need to look at the overall structure, including the current pricing, availability, affordability, in addition to developing an export strategy for the sector,” he said.
Aganga described cement sector as one of the sectors that “Nigeria should and will be rightly known for as one of the greatest contributors to the Gross Domestic Product of the country.”
“This is the key message I want to pass across in terms of where we are today and what our plans are in terms of where we want to be going.”
“This is so that at the end of the day, it will be a win-win situation for all the manufacturers, consumers and the Nigerian economy at large.”
Among those who attended the meeting were the Chief Executive Officer, Lafarge Cement WAPCO Nigeria Plc, Joseph Hudson, and the Chairman, BUA Group, Abdulsamad Rabiu. Other people present were the Group Managing Director, Flour Mills Plc, Emmanuel Ukpabi, Chairman Ibeto Group, Cletus Ibeto and Group Representative, Dangote Industries , Isa Tata Yusuf.