Dangote Cement Plc has said she is commitment to meet the demand gap and ensure the availability of cement products across the country.
The Group Chief Sales and Marketing Director of Dangote Cement, Mr Rabiu Umar, said this in a statement issued on Tuesday.
Noting that Nigeria had moved from importing cement to becoming an exporter of the product, Umar explained that the demand for cement rose globally as a fallout of the COVID-19 crisis.
He stated: “Nigeria 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.
“We got into COVID-19 last year and immediately after that 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.”
According to Umar, the line is waiting for the power plant to commence operation.
He 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. In every business, what drives the price is the demand and supply.
“As a business, we have not increased our price up until this point. So, what has happened in price increment in the cement products are forces of demand and supply.”
Umar advised that it would be important to distinguish Dangote’s ex-factory prices from prices at which retailers sell cement in the market.
“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 is concerned,” Umar said.
CBN warns banks over foreign exchange malpractices
The Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, has insisted that the FX operating license of any bank or banks that are found guilty of ongoing investigations in foreign exchange malpractices would be suspended for at least a year.
The circular signed today by the Director Trade and Exchange Department, CBN, Ozoemena Nnaji stated: “In line with the continuing close surveillance of our financial markets in general and the FX market in particular, the CBN wishes to remind all banks that it is their responsibility to not only Know their Customers (KYC requirements) but also Know their customers’ business (KYCB requirements).
“Given these responsibilities and in view of recent occurrences in the market, the CBN would like to remind banks to desist from all and any forms of FX malpractices.
“We wish to reiterate that the FX operating license of any bank or banks that are found culpable with ongoing investigations would be suspended for at least one year. Please note and ensure compliance.”
Naira hits historic low of 543 against dollar
The naira has continued to depreciate on the parallel market, selling for N543 to the dollar on Thursday.
The bureau de change operators in Abuja bought dollar at N540, then it was sold for N543.
The British Pound was also sold for £1/N740.
This comes 44 days after the Central Bank of Nigeria barred sale of Forex to all bureau de change operators across the country.
On June 27, 2021, the CBN ended the sales of Forex to BDCs saying the parallel market had become a conduit for illicit Forex flows and graft.
The CBN said it would also no longer process applications for BDC licences in the country.