The Dangote Group, yesterday started constructing a $1 billion cement factory in Okpella, Edo State, to expand its cement production in Nigeria.
The six million metric tonnes per annum (mmtpa) Okpella plant and the upcoming six mmtpa plant in Itori, Ogun State, will increase the company’s local production capacity to 41 mmtpa annually.
The Okpella project, which is to be constructed within 26 months, will provide 6000 direct jobs and 45,000 indirect jobs in the community.
Minister of Solid Minerals, Kayode Fayemi, said at the ground breaking ceremony at Okpella yesterday that the cement plant was an evidence that the diversification agenda of the federal government was already working.
President/chief exective, Dangote Group, Aliko Dangote who also used the occassion to cut his 59th birthday cake in his address said $1bn plant when completed would tranform the entire community and the state.
Dangote while commending the state government for the developmental stride of the Adams Oshiomhole-led administration noted that the infrastructure build by the state government was pull factor which attracted the Dangote group to site the company.
The African richest Business mogul said Nigeria is today going through a difficult economic challenges adding that it requires the active participation of the private sector.
He said “A key factor that drives investments in an economy is the presence of an investor-friendly business climate. Indeed, Edo State today, is one of the most attractive investment destinations in Nigeria.
“The economic reforms in Edo State especially in the area of tax, innovations in rural finance and investment on infrastructure, have produced an enabling environment that has further provided a platform for future growth. All these factors encouraged us to consider Edo State as the right destination for this investment.”
“This project is only one of our several successful projects presently ongoing in parts of the country and outside in more than 16 other locations in African countries, in line with our Pan African investment strategy. Last year June, we commissioned our cement plant in Ethiopia, and in August of same year in Zambia and Cameroon.
“We commissioned our plant in Tanzania in October. We plan to commission very soon, some of our other African plants in Senegal, Congo Brazzaville and South Africa.
Elated governor Oshiomhole said the entire money the state government have spent on infrastructure in the last seven years is about the same $1 billion the Dangote group will be spending in the construction of the plant.
Among dignitries are Emir of Kano, Alhaji Sanusi Lamido, Kano state Governor, Dr Alhaji Abdulahi Ganduje, Femi Otedola and Alhaji A.Y.E Dirisu
While thanking the Dangote group for the huge investment noted that at a time when most Nigerians are debating and lamenting over the economy Dangote have shown and demonstrated confidence in the economy.