The BUA Group chairman, Abdulsamad Rabiu, has described the 1.5 million metric tonnes per-annum Kalambaina cement factory commissioned by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo on Tuesday as a “statement in innovation.”
Mr Rabiu said the $350 million factory will provide 12,000 job opportunities, generate 32 megawatts of electricity and boost local cement production.
Speaking during the commissioning ceremony, Mr Rabiu said the plant has a number of competitive advantages, including “huge limestone deposits” in the Kalambaina area.
He said the new plant “will boost and deepen local production with a focus on human capital, social and economic development.”
According to him, “at least 2,000 direct and 10,000 indirect jobs are required to get this plant fully running. We cannot therefore underestimate the attendant social impact of this investment.”
Mr Rabiu said with the 32megawatt multi-fuel captive power plant and a coal mill, the new plant will be generating more power than is currently generated by the entire Sokoto State.
“To illustrate our innovative approach further, this plant can run on either coal, heavy oils or a mixture of both thereby putting less pressure on our operations whilst improving energy-efficiency.
“By also using coal to power our kiln, we expect to save over 70 per cent in terms of energy costs compared with if we had to use over 15million litres of fuel oil per month or about 400tonnes or 20trucks of fuel oil per day. That would have been a very expensive venture and logistical nightmare but I can confidently say our approach is easier, cheaper and more efficient.”
He said work started on the facility three years ago “when we engaged SINOMA at the height of the foreign exchange crisis. Despite what was termed by some to be harsh economic conditions in the months after signing the contract, we pushed on with steely resolve and a firm belief in the value of this project.”
Recalling hitches encountered in the course of the project’s execution, he said foreign exchange crisis almost stalled the gigantic facility.
“I must say however that this project would not have been possible without the effort by the President Muhammed Buhari-led administration to put deliberate policies in place to support key industries in the real sector – from agriculture to manufacturing.
“Through these policies, the CBN provided enough foreign exchange for heavy machinery to come in and this was helpful in completing the project on schedule. I therefore want to commend the administration for the policy because without that, it may not have been possible to complete the plant.”
Mr Rabiu said that what BUA has done at the Kalambaina plant “is a pointer to the fact that Nigeria is ready for business with the right policies and right operating environment”.
He said factory is the only cement plant in the entire North-west region of Nigeria, and “holds significant promise for the local markets and has huge export potential. The Niger Republic is a mere 100kilometers from here and the Republic of Benin, just 200kms away”.
The location, he said, places the plant in “a prime position to actually deliver the entire demand here within the North-west – which is our catchment area, and also export; even though at BUA, we have made it a policy to cater first to our home market before we export.”
Mr Rabiu said “in the event that we choose to export, the FX savings and potential FX this could generate for the country is huge”.