From Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Abuja
Major producers of cement in the country have assured that they are actively working to reduce the cost of the product as soon as possible.
The Chairman, BUA Cement, Abusamad Isyaku Rabiu, told State House correspondents after a meeting with Acting President, Yemi Osinbajo, in Abuja on Thursday, that the country’s foreign exchange situation and the high cost of Low Pour Fuel Oil (LPFO) were largely responsible for the escalating cost of cement in the country.
According to him, some of these factors, which led to the high cost of cement are being addressed by the Federal Government, adding that the foreign exchange situation has now improved dramatically while the cost of LPFO used by some cement companies, including one of his own plants in Sokoto, has also come down.
Rabiu noted that the companies involved are now working very hard to reduce the cost of cement, assuring that it would happen in the near future.
He said, “cement production requires a lot of energy. That is quite a significant part of the cost of cement production. That has been addressed to mainly the price of oil, may be the price of LPFO we use has come down. I’m talking about Sokoto now.
“Of course, the other cement plants scattered all over the country like, may be the southern part of the country, are using gas which is actually much cheaper. But for Sokoto, for example, we are using LPFO and it is quite expensive.
“We have to transport it either from Lagos or from Kaduna refinery if there is availability. That, you know, from time to time, impacts on the cost. But I can assure you that the three major companies producing cement in Nigeria are working very hard to see that the price of cement comes down in the very near future.
“We are trying hard to make sure the price comes down. Of course, the foreign exchange aspect also improved dramatically. That, as we all know, was a big issue. Now, that has improved considerably. So, I think we will see a reduction in the very near future.”
Asked the purpose of his visit, Rabiu said it was to invite the Acting President to the commissioning of BUA Cement Sokoto plant that is nearing completion.
“The reason I came here is to pay respect to His Excellency, the Acting President, and to also solicit for his support in commissioning one of the projects we are doing,” he said.
Speaking on the Sokoto project, Rabiu stated: “Well, it is a project that we have almost completed. It is Sokoto Cement and we are hoping to commission the plant very soon. We discussed that and he is looking into it and he has promised to get back.”