Emefiele wants manufacturers to reduce price of building materials

Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Godwin Emefiele, on Thursday urged manufacturers to reduce the price of building materials in the country to make housing more affordable, just as he assured them of the apex Bank’s continued support.

Emefiele spoke at the inauguration of the BUA’s 3million Metric Tonnes Cement Plant which was performed by President Muhammadu Buhari in Sokoto.

“I want to seize this opportunity to appeal to our manufacturers in the construction sector to take urgent action in bringing down the price of building materials in Nigeria,” he urged.

He recalled recent calls by construction companies, urging Cement and steel manufacturers to intervene in the skyrocketing prices of these two essential items in the construction sector.

Emefiele acknowledged that some of the Cement manufacturers are producing for both the domestic and exports market, but urged them to pay more attention to satisfying domestic needs so as to bring down prices.

His appeal is strengthened by the huge potential in the sector to create jobs and boost growth in the country.

“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 stated.

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Emefiele’s renewed assurance is in line with his vision of a professional and people-centred Central Bank that will act as a financial catalyst for job creation and inclusive economic growth in Nigeria.

“For those who are willing to invest in new greenfield or existing brownfield projects, the CBN will provide all the support needed – both in Naira and dollars to import plants and equipment to actualize these investments,” he reassured.

In 2015, the CBN began implementing a policy that restricted access to foreign exchange for the importation of 43 items, including cement, which can be produced or the raw materials sourced within the country.

That policy has helped to boost the production capacity of cement in the country.

Available data show that the production capacity of cement companies in Nigeria has increased from 30 million metric tonnes in 2014 to 60 million metric tonnes in 2021.

“Consequent upon this investment by local businessmen into the cement manufacturing sector, our nation has been able to conserve billions of millions of dollars, as no dollar from our external reserves has been spent on import of cement into the country in the last 6 years,” Emefiele stated.

“Importantly also, these investments have saved and/or created several thousand jobs across multiple sectors of the economy.”

He said BUA’s effort in constructing the cement plant with no external finance, is proof that private sector initiatives have been critical in reducing unemployment and boosting production activities in Nigeria. “Such investments helped to support the CBN’s mandate of promoting stable macro-economic growth in Nigeria.”

He further noted that the group’s investment in Sokoto and other parts of Nigeria reflects their belief in Africa’s largest economy and the immense opportunities available in the industrial sector, given the abundance of human and natural resources in Nigeria.

The governor, therefore, assured current and prospective operators in the industrial sector that the CBN would collaborate with them in enabling the development of a viable manufacturing sector in Nigeria.

He also urged manufacturing local construction companies to focus more on satisfying the domestic infrastructure needs, to help reduce prices of cement and steel.