The governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Mr. Godwin Emefiele, has pledged the bank’s support for the manufacturing sector in Nigeria and pushed for a reduction in the prices of building materials in order to make housing more affordable.
Emefiele made the pledge in his remarks at the inauguration of the new BUA Cement plant in Sokoto, performed by President Muhammadu Buhari on Thursday.
Recalling the decision of the bank to restrict access to foreign exchange for the importation of 43 items, including cement, which could either be produced in Nigeria or for which raw materials could be sourced within the country, Emefiele said the decision had helped to boost the production capacity of cement in the country.
While disclosing that the production capacity of cement companies in Nigeria had increased from 30 million metric tons in 2014 to 60 million metric tons in 2021, the CBN governor declared that no dollar had been spent on the importation of cement into Nigeria in the past seven years.
Furthermore, Emefiele commended the BUA Cement company for its effort in constructing the plant with no external finance, noting that such private sector initiatives were yielding fruits and were critical complementary ingredients to reducing unemployment and boosting production activities in Nigeria.
He said such investments helped to support the CBN’s mandate of promoting stable macro-economic growth in Nigeria.
Emefiele, therefore, assured current and prospective operators in the industrial sector that the CBN stood ready to collaborate with them in enabling the development of a viable manufacturing sector in Nigeria.
“For those who are willing to invest in new greenfield or existing brownfield projects, the CBN will provide all the support needed, both in naira and dollars needed to import plants and equipment to actualise these investments,” he pledged, adding that the stance was directly in harmony with the resolve of the CBN to create a professional and people-centred central bank that will act as a financial catalyst for job creation and inclusive economic growth in Nigeria.
Speaking further, Mr. Emefiele urged manufacturing companies in the construction sector of the country to focus more on satisfying the domestic needs in the infrastructure sector, with a view to reducing the prices of cement and steel.
Also speaking, the governor of Sokoto State, Rt. Hon. Aminu Tambuwal, commended the Buhari administration for its commitment towards revolutionising the manufacturing sector, as exemplified in the cement manufacturing sector, which now provides jobs for Nigeria’s teeming population.
Similarly, the trio of Alhaji Abdul Samad Rabiu, Chairman, BUA Cement Plc; Alhaji Lawal Bello, Chairman, Cement Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (CMAN); and Engr. Yusuf Binji, the Managing Director, BUA Cement Plc, lauded the efforts of the current administration and the CBN in collaborating with stakeholders to boost the economy of Nigeria.