Nigeria's biggest listed company, Dangote Cement, opened a $1 billion cement plant on Thursday, raising itsproduction capacity in Nigeria by more than 40 percent.
The new plant is situated in Ibese, Ogun State in southeast Nigeria, just outside the commercial hub Lagos. It will produce 6 million metric tonnes of cement per annum (mtpa), which along with Dangote Cement's two other plants will take total production to 20.25 mtpa.
"We are working towards making the company one of the eight biggest producers ofcement in the world," Dangote's billionaire owner Aliko Dangote said at the plantopening.
"With the commissioning of theIbese plant, Nigeria has been transformed from major importer of cement to self-sufficient in production and export."
Mr Dangote said in the next two years the company's Obajana plant, in Kogi state, would have its capacity upgraded to 15 mtpa from 10.25 mtpa currently, which would make it the world's biggest cement plant.
Speaking at the commissioningof the plant, the Ogun state governor, Ibikunle Amosun commended the company for the choice of the state as location for the cement plant. He pleaded with the management of the company to assist the government in fixing the Lagos-Ibadan express road which is in a deplorable state.
President Goodluck Jonathan, who commissioned the plant expressed satisfaction with the expansion of Dangote Cement plants saying that soon Nigeria “will not only be exporter of crude oil, but will be exporter of cement.”
Mr Jonathan hailed the billionaire owner of the plant and said that it was because of Mr Dangote’s contributions to the economy that justified the conferment of Grand Commander of the Order of the Niger (GCON) award on him, an award that hitherto have been conferred on Vice President.
The President said that the plant which will directly employ over 7,000 workers will help to reduce the rate of employment in the country and reduce the cost of housing in Nigeria.
He said for the country to achieve its aim of joining the top 20 economy in the world by the year 2020 “we need tomultiply people like Dangote”......mr president don't worry,i'll be one of them...