ABUJA – Mr Olusegun Aganga, Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, on Friday said the Federal Government has attracted new private sector investment worth $7 billion into the cement sector in the last three years.
Aganga stated this at the 4th Annual Seminar for Industry, Trade and Investment Correspondents and Editors in Abuja.
According to him in 2011, the installed capacity in the cement sector is 16.5 million metric tons per annum.
“Today it is 39.5 million metric tons. When we came in, there were about $9 billion investment in the cement sector, but today it is more than $15 billion.
“In 2011, the direct and indirect jobs from the cement sector was less than 600,000 today the sector provides about 2.2 million direct and indirect jobs,’’ he said.
He said the federal government spent at least $5.2 million in the importation of cement, but since 2013 the present administration has not issued any import license.
“Our main focus for the cement sector, going forward, is to improve the standard of cement and to bring the price down. Cement manufacturers must do it because we do not do price regulation.
“There was announcement a few days ago that one of the cement manufacturers is bringing down the price of its 32.5 by 40 per cent from N1,700 per bag to N1,000.
“The 42.5 is coming down from around N1,800 to about N1,150 per bag,’’ said the minister.
He said there have been complaints about what was happening in the sector, urging Nigerians not to worry because the government was aware of its policies.
The minister said that a new anti competition policy that would provide a level playing field for all investors in the Nigerian economy would soon be rolled out by the federal government.
“We have a competition policy, we have anti-trust law that we are looking at and we have competition Bill that is going to the National Assembly.
“We will make sure that industrialists and investors across the country continue to have the confidence that everyone will play on a level playing ground,’’ he added.
Aganga noted that President Goodluck Jonathan had initiated and implemented far-reaching industrial policies which have helped to diversify the nation’s economic and revenue base.
“The policies are also to attract fresh foreign direct investment, create employment and increase the capacity utilisation of key manufacturing sectors of the economy.
“When the name of the Ministry was changed from Commerce and Industry to Industry, Trade and Investment the emphasis was for us to focus on industrialisation, trade and attracting investment across all sectors,’’ he said.
The two-day seminar is expected to end tomorrow. (NAN)