Lagos — Cement Manufacturers under the auspices of Cement Manufacturers Association of Nigeria at the weekend sought federal government's protection over their $4.1 billion (about N639.6 billion) investment in the cement industry.
They want the federal government to impose maximum tariff and levies on imported cement.
President of the association Engineer Joseph Mokoju said in Lagos that with declining demand, investment in the industry totaling $6 billion between 2002 and May 2012 by local manufacturers and the ongoing expansion estimated at $3.5 billion are at risk.
He said: "What is happening now is too early in the stage of our investment circle when the investors are yet to recoup significant part of their investment. This is making us to be nervous or a bit panicky and this is capable of crippling the industry.
"It has multiplier effects on the economy in terms of number of job losses and decline in all other economic activities that are dependent on the cement industry."
He said with continuous importation of the product, most local cement plants have huge inventory of unsold cement and clinker, investors are nervous and want protection over their investment.
Makoju who is also special adviser to Alhaji Aliko Dangote, President Dangote Cement Group, said Dangote Cement alone has inventory of 950,000 tons of unsold cement and so other manufacturers.
He said with the shutdown of Gboko cement plant due to decline in demand, 923 workers including 30 expatriates have been suspended, while over 38,000 tons of clinker and 10,000 tons of cement currently stocked at the plant.