Cement manufacturers have been urged by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to consider lowering the excessive cost of cement.
Godwin Emefiele, the Governor of the CBN, made the announcement during the official commissioning of the BUA cement line 4 plant and the groundbreaking of line 5 in Sokoto State.
The decision to restrict access to foreign exchange for imports of 43 commodities that may be produced in Nigeria, according to the apex bank, helped improve the country’s cement production capacity from 30 million MT in 2014 to 60 million MT in 2021.
What the CBN is saying about cement prices
Emefiele said that to increase industrial productivity and preserve foreign currency reserves, the government decided in 2015 to restrict access to foreign exchange for imports of 43 commodities that could be produced in Nigeria but for which billions of dollars were spent on imports annually.
He said, “One of the restricted items was cement. In making this decision, we were aware that the key raw material required for the production of cement is limestone, which is readily available across the country.”
“No dollar from our external reserves has been spent on import of cement into the country in the past seven years,” he added.
The CBN governor stated that the policy move led to a huge increase in productivity in the cement industry. He said, “Following implementation of this new directive, I am pleased to note that the production capacity of the cement industry in Nigeria has doubled from 30 million tonnes in 2014 to about 60m tonnes in 2021.”
Emefiele, still speaking at the event, urged cement manufacturers to reduce prices. He said, “This sector is one of the major sectors in the economy helping to create employment and boosting growth in our country. We are aware that some of our Cement manufacturers are producing for both the domestic and exports market, but we urge them to pay more attention at satisfying the domestic needs so as to bring down prices.”
“On our part, the CBN wishes to reiterate its determination to provide needed support for importation of spares, plants and equipment needed to increase production capacities of our cement plants in the country,” he added.