Buhari promises continued support for investors

…flags off 3m metric tons BUA Cement factory in Sokoto

President Muhammadu Buhari on Thursday promised the Federal Government’s continued support for investors to set up businesses in Nigeria that will add value and take advantage of the country’s huge market.

The President stated this while inaugurating a 3-million metric tons per annum BUA Cement Line 4 factory in Sokoto. He expressed the satisfaction that his administration’s policies on economic diversification, job creation, and the creation of the enabling environment for businesses to thrive were working.

BUA Cement in Sokoto has remained the largest employer of labour in the North-west, operating two Cement plants.

The company also has two in Obu, Edo State, bringing its total production capacity to 11.5 million tons with the completion of this new plant.

BusinessDay gathered that the company is already constructing two additional new plants of 3 million metric tons each in Edo and the other in Sokoto.

Impressed by the achievements of the BUA Group, President Buhari pledged his administration’s continued support for serious investors and commended the company and other entrepreneurs for making Nigeria self-sufficient in cement and a net exporter of the strategic product.

The President recounted how in 1985 as the then Head of State, he was at the same location to commission the 2nd line of the facility.

”Today, almost 37 years later, to commission the fourth line is a very special day for me personally.

”As you all know, one of the key economic pillars of our administration has been to create an enabling environment for businesses to thrive. This is necessary for job creation and indeed, for our economy and national security.

”In the past few weeks, I visited Ogun and Kaduna States where I observed many private sector investments in action. And today, I am here in Sokoto to commission this multi-billion Naira project.

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”It is, therefore, very clear for all to see that our policies are working. Progress is gradually being made in all parts of the country,” he said.

He thanked the founder of BUA Cement, Abdul Samad Rabiu and his team for the great work they are doing in supporting the government’s economic diversification and job creation agenda.

He noted that the company, which has completed four new cement plants of similar capacity in the last five years in different parts of the country and is set to complete two more plants soon, had shown through these investments that they believe in Nigeria and its potential.

Buhari said he was pleased that through these investments, BUA Cement has created employment opportunities for our citizens. Today, BUA is the largest employer of labour in the North-west region.

”I always remind Nigerians that every region, indeed every state in Nigeria sits on huge reserves of resources. For example, in this area, Kebbi, Sokoto and Zamfara can boast of rice production, gold and other precious metals development and of course, heavy industries like cement manufacturing.

”As a government, we introduced policies and mechanisms to support such investments in a legal, ethical and inclusive manner.

”For example, we have the National Food Security Council on Food Security Matters and the Presidential Artisanal Gold Mining Development Initiative to develop local artisanal gold mining and ensure health and safety of mining workers and protect the environment.

”We remain prepared to support serious investors to set up businesses that will take advantage of these opportunities through value addition so as to take advantage of the huge market here, as well as in the greater African region and the world at large.”

Highlighting other efforts to bring even development to all parts of the country, the President expressed the confidence that the Ajaokuta–Kaduna–Kano (AKK) gas project, when completed, will bring gas for domestic and industrial purposes from the South-south region to the South-east, North-central and North-west geopolitical zones.

He said the AKK project would significantly reduce the cost of operations for industries in the regions.

The President also used the occasion to reassure Nigerians that his government would continue to invest heavily in roads and rails to ease the movement of people, goods and services, with a view to facilitating trade while lowering logistics costs associated with the inefficiencies of bad roads and bridges.

On security, President Buhari reiterated his commitment to bring peace and stability to all parts of Nigeria, listing measures undertaken by this administration to ensure that normalcy returns to the country.

”We continue to recruit and equip security personnel while expanding our social investment programs to support the youth and some of the most vulnerable members of our communities.

”You should all be reassured that we will win this battle against the criminal elements looking to destabilise our nation by hindering the progress of our economy.

”I want to now call on all entrepreneurs and businesses to emulate what is being done here. The task of nation-building requires all hands to be on deck. The public and private sectors must collaborate if we are to achieve our aim of collective peace and prosperity across the entire nation.”

Chairman BUA Cement, Sammad Rabiu commended the President for creating the enabling environment for businesses to thrive, acknowledged the support of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and its Governor in setting up the gigantic project.

He announced that, ”so far, we have invested over a billion dollars in the past four years and we urge the CBN to continue to support industries like ours that use locally sourced raw materials to add value.”

He pledged that BUA would continue to invest more in the cement industry until Nigeria is self-sufficient and the commodity is made available, accessible, and affordable for all Nigerians.

The BUA chairman said he looked forward to President Buhari commissioning these plants next year which will bring total production capacity to 17.5 million metric tons.

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