The Vice President of Nigeria, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo yesterday commissioned BUA Group's $1 billion cement facility in Obu Okpella, Edo state.
Speaking at the commissioning of BUA Cement plant, Osinbajo, who restated government's commitment to the economic recovery and growth plan of the federal government, said the administration would continue to prioritise the role of the private sector in building a sustainable economy for the country.
According to him, the administration will specifically enable the private sector to achieve their investment drive.
"For us as a government, we will do all we can to encourage investment of this type. This is the cornerstone of our economic policy. There is no other way to grow this country more than active participation of the private sector.
"As a government we are committed to creating an enabling environment and eliminating the burdens of investors. We will continue to ease the business environment, while going the extra mile to determine how we can assist the private sector to grow the economy", he said.
Lauding the organisation's initiative in building a 5000kw gas plant to power the facility, Osinbajo said the administration had made the clear that the nation's economic recovery and growth must be private sector driven.
He noted that the investment, which is expected to turn the company's yearly cement output to eight million tonnes by next year, would consolidate the nation's drive for cement sufficiency and boost the country's export potential.
With the investments, the Vice President was hopeful that the country would reduce cost of cement in the local market, while providing jobs for millions of Nigerians.
Osinbajo said: "This ultra-modern cement plant is a big boost to Nigerian economic. It will bring thousands of direct jobs to skill and unskilled people. This will consolidate Nigeria's self sufficiency in cement and boost our export capacity."
Chairman of BUA group, Abdul-samad Rabiu said the company is interested in building an investment that can compete globally.
Rabiu, who said cement accounts for over 90 per cent of mined solid mineral resources in the country, said the organisation remained leading sector investor in the northern region.
"The success and impressive efficiency of the first line which in its first year of operation was over 90 percent returns of capacity utilisation made BUA to commence the construction of the second line of 3million tonnes.
"We are completing another Greenfield project in Sokoto which is 1.5mtpa and costs over $300 million. By the time we are done, the combined capacity of our cement plants both in Sokoto and in Edo will be about 8million tonnes.
"If you look at it, the Sokoto cement is the largest employer of labour if you take out the state government. And with that investment, Sokoto cement is the large single investor in the North Western part of Nigeria.
Governor of Edo State, Godwin Obaseki, who was also at the event said, the investment marks a way forward to industrialisation in the state.
He stated that the initiative is at the heart of the state's strategic plan of the state, adding that the administration would continue to promote productive efforts that would add value to the state.
He sees the investment a lasting initiative that would encourage the citizen. Said the admin would make the state investor friend.
According to him, the state would create 200 thousand jobs in the first administration by encouraging investors.
While disclosing that state has concluded plans promote affordable housing schemes, Obaseki said the state is working hard to reduce the cost of running business.