Dangote celebrates 59th birthday with $1bn Okpella cement plant

Dangote celebrates 59th birthday with $1bn Okpella cement plant
April 12 00:01 2016

The President, Dangote Group of Companies, Alhaji Aliko Dangote marked his 59th birthday over the weekend in style.

The richest man in Africa used the opportunity of the celebration held on  Sunday to announce the commencement of the company’s $1 billion cement plant in Okpella, Edo State.

The project is a  six million metric tonne plant
per annum (mmtpa) integrated cement plant.
The Minister of Solid Minerals, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, who
spoke during the ceremony, described the investment as
consistent with the policy drive of the federal government
targeted at the diversification of the economy from crude
oil.
According to him, the mining sector would contribute over
$25 billion to the national economy, creating huge revenue
flows to drive it in the face of rapidly declining crude oil
prices.
“The mining sector has the capacity to contribute over $25
billion to the national economy by 2025, creating new
employment opportunities, developing local content and
increasing tax revenue for the state and the federal
governments,” Fayemi said.
The Edo State Government, Adams Oshiomhole, said the
investment was equivalent to the total capital expenditure
deployed in the state since he assumed office over seven
years ago.
He called on other businessmen and women to emulate the
investment drive of Dangote, saying that this was the only
way the country would grow from strength to strength and
create job opportunities for the nation’s teeming
unemployed youths.
“Over the next 26 months, cement will be rolling out of the
facility and I want to say that this investment would not
have been possible without peace and confidence in the
state,” Oshiomhole said.
He noted that the investment would create job opportunities
for about 24,000 people directly and indirectly.
The Minister of State for Industry, Trade and Investment,
Mrs. Aisha Abubakar, in her speech, said the investment
was a proof that Nigeria could move away and survive with
non-oil products.
She noted that Dangote was the largest employer of labour
after the federal government, adding that the ministry would
continue to partner the firm in terms of innovation and
technological development.
“As we move forward, we want to implore other well-
meaning Nigerians to provide opportunities for mentorship
for the young ones to grow,” she said.
Africa’s richest man, Dangote, said the new cement plant is
expected to further increase the $3 billion the country had
been saving from import substitution in cement yearly.
He maintained that the new 6mmtpa capacity cement plant
was coming on the heels of a similar arrangement for
another 6mmtpa cement plant in Itori, Ogun State, where
the company is currently running a 12mmtpa cement plant
at Ibese.
He noted that by this investment, Dangote’s production
capacity would increase to 41mmtpa in Nigeria alone,
adding that he would never shy away from investing in the
country because the nation still remains the best place to
invest in the world.
“A key factor that drives investments in an economy is the
presence of an investor-friendly business climate. Indeed,
Edo State today is one of the most attractive investment
destinations in Nigeria.
“The economic reforms in Edo State especially in the area of
tax, innovations in rural finance and investment on
infrastructure, have produced the enabling environment that
has further provided a platform for future growth. All these
factors made us consider investing in the state,” he said.
Dangote noted that Nigeria is a growing economy, adding:
Our developmental challenges are quite enormous and will
require the combined efforts of government and private
sector to overcome them.
“It is in this light that we are here to contribute our own
quota to transforming the economy of Edo State as we have
done elsewhere. This project is only one of our several
successful projects presently ongoing in parts of the
country and outside in more than 15 other locations in
African countries in line with our pan African investment
strategy.”
He said in June last year, the group commissioned its
cement plant in Ethiopia, Zambia and Cameroun, adding
that there are plans to commission other plants in Senegal
and South Africa very soon.
“Also last year, in Lagos, we signed a deal valued at $4.34
billion, with Sinoma International Engineering Company
Limited for the construction of 10 additional new cement
plants across Africa, with one in Nepal in Asia. The
combined capacity of these new projects will be 25 million
metric tonnes per annum.
“By the time all these new projects are completed in the
next few years, we will have a total capacity of 81 million
metric tonnes per annum. This will make us one of the top
six cement companies in the world,” he said.
He pointed out that the group was consolidating its cement
businesses across Africa in order to reap from the benefits
of scale, stressing that its operational offshore cement
plants had started to make substantial contributions to its
revenue.
“In addition to manufacturing, we are also investing heavily
in agriculture for massive employment generation. Recently,
we have commenced multi-billion dollar rice projects in
some states in the north and we recently flagged off a rice
out-grower scheme with the distribution of rice seedling to
farmers in Jigawa State to reduce our dependence on
imported rice, create massive jobs for the people and
provide good returns to the famers.
“We envisage producing up to one million tonnes of white
rice with the cultivation of 200,000 hectares of land. This
will lead to a conservation of about $11 billion presently
spent on the importation of food items that could otherwise
be produced locally.
“It is gratifying to know that the federal government has
recently announced that it is putting in place strategies that
will make farmers have greater access to implements and
other inputs,” Dangote said.
In his welcome address, the Okuokpellagbe of Okpella
Kingdom, Dr. Andrew Dirisu, lauded the doggedness of
Dangote Cement and its prompt response to the call for the
establishment of the cement plant, and commended the
state governor for his support in acceding to the desire of
the people to have Dangote Cement in the community given
the abundance of the raw materials in the community.
He promised that the community would provide the enabling
environment for the investment to thrive as it is to the
benefit of Okpella and her people for the plant to operate
and generate economic activities.
He urged the company’s management to ensure that the
various corporate social responsibility projects that the
Dangote Cement is known to have provided for other host
communities are also replicated in Okpella.
Dangote Cement is a fully integrated quarry-to-customer
producer with production capacity of 29.25mta in Nigeria.
Its Obajana plant in Kogi State, Nigeria, is the largest in
Africa with 13.2mta capacity across four lines.