Mr. Aganga said government has decided to increase and improve the level and quality of trade between Nigeria and the rest of the world
The Federal Government’s backward integration policy yielded over $8 billion (about N1.4trillion) in additional investment in the country’s cement industry, the Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Olusegun Aganga, has said.
Mr. Aganga, who stated this during a meeting with the Indian business community in Lagos, said the Federal Government was targeting an increased production capacity in the sector from about 28.5 million metric tonnes in 2013 to over 39 metric tonnes in 2014.
“We have had a major success in the cement sector,” Mr. Aganga, said of the achievement so far. “For the first time ever in the history of Nigeria, we exported cement in 2013. We had capacity of 28.5 million metric tonnes. Our current demand is between 18 to 20 million tonnes. This year, it should be about 39 million metric tonnes.”
The minister, who noted that Nigeria should have one of the largest cement factory in the world in the near future, said the government wants to record the success it has achieved in other sectors under the National Industrial Revolution Plan.
Mr. Aganga said the latest information from cement manufacturers reveal that total investment in the sector was between $7 and $8 billion, with capacity to employ about 1.6 million people.
He assured that the impact of the success story in the cement sector would be felt more with the inauguration of the new Mortgage Refinancing Institution launched last week by President Goodluck Jonathan to support building and construction in housing.
Acknowledging the potentials in the housing sector in terms of job creation, Mr. Aganga said that in line with the Federal Government’s Industrial Revolution Plan, a new policy to revamp and fast-track the growth and development of cotton, textile, and garment sector is underway.
He said the policy would address the multifaceted problems facing the sector, including access to long-term finance to help textile manufacturers increase their production capacity.
The introduction of the new policy, which was delayed to enable government carry out adequate consultation, would come by February this year, Mr. Aganga said.
He said there were already certain aspects of the policy that government is implementing, particularly in the area of finance, with the provision of N100 billion as “CTG Fund” for the textile industries at lower interest rate and a longer term.
Mr. Aganga also said that President Goodluck Jonathan has approved that the Bank of Industry, BOI, implement the fund by converting the loans to equity.
We have started implementing this already, but we hope the new policy on CTG, which will be out soon, will address most of the challenges facing the sector,” Mr. Aganga said.
To boost job creation, the minister said that government would address the imbalance in the tariff structure between raw materials and finished goods as part of renewed efforts to encourage value addition through processing of local raw materials.
He said government has decided to increase and improve the level and quality of trade between Nigeria and the rest of the world, considering that Africa today accounts for about three per cent of global trade; operating at the bottom of the value chain, and exporting most of its raw materials instead of finished goods.
The focus of the government would be to improve the quality and quantity of the country’s trade through value addition, so that Nigeria would be able to export more finished products, create jobsand earn more revenue for the government.
He said Nigeria played a leading role in putting a robust Common External Tariff, CET, in place, pointing out that the new tariff regime, scheduled to take effect in January 2015, would involve a re-classification in tariff structure of some raw materials and address the imbalance.
This, he said, would make it easier and more profitable for people to import goods, rather than process the abundant raw materials, since the tariff on some raw materials are higher than that on imported finished goods.