Speaking to the media yesterday in Lagos, Dangote Cement’s newly appointed Group Chief Sales and Marketing Director, Mr. Rabiu Umar said that the country has moved from importing cement to become an exporter of cement.
Umar explained that the demand for cement has risen globally as a fallout of the COVID-19 crisis. Nigeria, according to him, is no exception as a combination of monetary policy changes and low returns from the capital market has resulted in a significant increase in construction activity.
He explained further “We got into COVID last year and immediately after COVID there is a surge in demand and this is not particular to Nigeria alone, a couple of countries across the world are also experiencing the same; Mexico, South East Asia, among others.”
He noted that Dangote Cement is aggressively building up more capacity as it recently invested in a new line that has been completed in Obajana Plant and the line is waiting for the power plant for it to commence operation.
Commenting further on capacity building, Rabiu said: “… we have a new plant in Okpella in Edo state, that is also going to start operation very soon. For the last couple of years one of our plants in Gboko, Benue state has not worked; we have re-started the plant all in a bid to make sure that there is enough production. We have also increased the capacity of our Obajana Plant and very soon, I am sure the market will be flooded with enough products. You also need to note that other operators are also increasing their capacity.”
He explained that, “in every business, what drives the price is the demand and supply. Now as a business we have not increased our price up until this point. So therefore, what has happened in price increment in the cement products are forces of demand and supply.”
He said though the company has direct control over its ex-factory prices, it cannot control the ultimate price of cement when it gets to the market. He advised that it is important to distinguish Dangote’s ex-factory prices from prices at which retailers sell cement in the market.
Umar stated further that the Company is trying to make sure that it increases the supply of the product in the market, noting that to make the product available to the end users, the Company is bringing in 2,000 brand new trucks to ease distribution bottlenecks.
“We are buying these trucks and putting them out there to make sure that the distribution is also taken care of. This new development will lead to additional thousands of direct jobs in the country; apart from both direct and indirect jobs the plants will also create.
“Globally, by the time we are done, we believe that the additional capacity we will put on the market compared to what we have in the market today is probably the size of each of our competitors in terms of the additional volume that we will put in the market. And we believe that should help to manage the tension in the country as far as the situation with the skyrocketing prices of cement are concerned.”