Your Excellency, The President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, President Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR Your Excellency, the Governor of Sokoto State & distinguished guests.
Your Excellency Sir, may I seek your permission to please stand on the already established protocols? Thank you.
- I would like to start by expressing my most profound appreciation to Your Excellency, Mr President, for gracing today’s commissioning despite your busy schedule. Your presence here today, sir, is another affirmation of your unwavering commitment to Nigerian businesses and your vision to industrializing Nigeria.
- I also welcome You and everyone else to the commissioning of the BUA Cement Sokoto Line 4 at this historic location – a location steeped in history, and one where Mr. President commissioned the second line in 1985 when he was Head of State.
- President, a little over four and half years ago, shortly after the commissioning of BUA’s first greenfield cement complex – the 3million metric tonnes per annum BUA Cement Obu Line 1 by His Excellency, the Vice President, we continued our audacious yet structured expansion programme to meet the ever-growing demand for cement in Nigeria with regional exports also in focus.
- We had a vision to support your government’s infrastructure agenda by ensuring we use locally available raw materials to produce cement here in Nigeria.
- In the past 6 years, we have completed 4 plants – two in Obu, Edo State and two in Sokoto (of which this sokoto line 4 is the fourth) with BUA’s total production capacity now standing at 11million tonnes with the completion of this plant.
- Next year, we intend to complete the construction of two new plants of 3 million metric tonnes each for which construction is ongoing – one in Edo and the other here in Sokoto. We expect these plants to be completed next year which will bring our total production capacity to 17million metric tonnes. We look forward to Your Excellency coming to commission them by the first quarter of 2023 ISA.
- President, distinguished guests, BUA will continue to invest more in the cement industry until Nigeria is self-sufficient and cement is made available, accessible, and affordable for all Nigerians.
- President, there are many reasons one can attribute to the important nature of this plant. The attendant effect of these investments in new factories go beyond the community and the state. It extends to the region and the entire country.
- From a job creation and economic standpoint, the Sokoto plant continues to be the largest private sector employer of labour in the North-Western part of Nigeria. Also, by adding value to resources mined in Nigeria, Nigeria is being saved billions of US dollars in foreign exchange that would have been spent on importation, whilst also ensuring product availability. In fact, 95% of all the raw materials used in our cement manufacturing process are sourced locally.
- In addition to this, and our investment in social impact and CSR programmes for the community and sokoto state at all levels, we are also committed to environmental sustainability. We have diversified our energy sources by introducing greener alternatives – in this case, LNG – to power the kiln and 48 megawatts power plant. Our power plants are now running on 100% LNG leading to reduced carbon emissions. This is the first of its kind at any cement factory in Nigeria.
- What this means also, is that as soon as the AKK gas project comes on stream, we are ready to be one of the first off-takers to satisfy our energy needs. This will also encourage further industrialization within the region, open new industries and ensure greater development and prosperity for this region and the nation in general.
- Mr President Sir, all of this will not have been possible without your support and commitment to the development of the Nigerian economy.
- As a Proudly Nigerian Company, we will do our best to continue to support those efforts.
- The support of the Central Bank of Nigeria and its Governor in setting up this gigantic project is also worthy of mention. 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 because as mentioned earlier, these industries potentially save the country billions of dollars yearly and also ensure products are readily available across the length and breadth of the country.
- I must also thank specifically, His Excellency, the Governor of Sokoto State – Rt Honourable Aminu Tambuwal who has never wavered in his support in ensuring an enabling environment for BUA Cement to thrive. Thank you, Your Excellency.
- In the same vein, our partnership with our host community, Kalambaina Community, has been mutually beneficial. The people of Kalambaina have been so cooperative, peaceful, and supporting of the business and our activities. This has ensured a mostly hitch-free operation in this area for more than five decades and has given us the confidence to invest more whilst adding to the socio-economic development of the area through various investments in infrastructure, education, healthcare, jobs, and other social impact areas.
Distinguished guests, I would like to restate that BUA Cement remains fully committed in making cement more available, affordable, and accessible using raw materials available locally. This is important for housing and infrastructure development as well as national development and we will keep doing our own part to actualize this goal.
Finally, I want to thank Mr President for his commitment to the growth and development of manufacturing, mining, and other key industries in this country.
Businesses can only thrive if the enabling environment is right and is supported by the right policies.
We are aware of your government’s efforts, but we know that government alone cannot do it without the positive collaboration and support of the private sector. This is where we come in and we will continue to support national and economic development as we have always done.
Once again, I welcome all our distinguished guests to the commissioning of the 3 million metric tonnes BUA Cement Sokoto Line 4.
Thank you for listening.