The Cement Producers Association of Nigeria (CEPAN) has assured the federal government and Nigerians of its members’ eagerness to support the federal government’s infrastructure drive, reduce the price of cement, and ensure its price stability if the federal government will only revisit the backward integration policy of the late President Umar Yar Adua on cement.
The association gave this assurance in a letter written to the Honourable Minister of Industry, Trade, and Investment, Doris Uzoka-Anite, and made available to the Nigerian Tribune.
In the letter signed by its National Chairman, Prince David Iweta, and co-signed by the National Secretary, Reagan Ufomba, the association argued that Nigeria continues to be the country with the highest price tag on cement due to the inability of the industry to meet the demands for the commodity.
The situation, it stated, might worsen as a result of the federal government’s approval of 1,000 housing units to be built across the seven northern states in the country, as part of its efforts to meet the 28 million housing deficits in Nigeria and its resolve to build all roads across the country with cement concrete, since it would further put pressure on the demand for the commodity, thereby resulting in scarcity and a price hike.
CEPAN, therefore, argued that a revisit of the backward integration policy of late President Yar’Adua will enable the sector to meet such anticipated demands for the product in Nigeria.
It also urged the minister to convey a meeting with stakeholders in the sector with a view to examining the status of the Cement Technology Fund (CTF), also established by the late President, to guarantee stable cement prices by encouraging new entrants into the industry, ensuring equitable spread of the product across the six zones of the federation, and conducting research in cement at the Technology Institute in Kogi State.
Knowing the status of the Fund, which it stated had grown to about N13.2 billion as of June 2016, under the management of the Bank of Industry (BOI), will enable members to draw from it to complete their various backward integration activities, as intended by the policy.
“There is no better time than now. This government should revisit the Yar’Adua Cement Backward Integration policy so as to meet the anticipated demand for cement in Nigeria while also conveying the status of the Cement Technology Fund, created then.
“The vision was made manifest through the promulgation of the Cement Backward Integration Policy and the granting of cement import permits and limestone exploration licences to selected companies.
“In his wisdom to ensure the success and completion of the laudable policy, the former President imposed a levy of 10% of cost and freight (C&F) on all cement imported into the country and on existing local cement manufacturers.
“It is in the light of this and many more that we hereby humbly appeal to the Honourable Minister to invite all relevant stakeholders to a meeting to discuss the status of this fund in the month of October 2023 to establish the present status of the fund with BOI and allow our members to draw from the fund for the completion of our various backward integration activities, as intended by the policy under reference,” it stated..…CONTINUE.FULL.READING>>>