Nigeria: Nigeria's Minister of Trade and Investment, Olusegun Aganga has announced that he will conduct an independent assessment of the country's cement industry to make it more competitive. The move follows a dispute between importer Ibeto Cement Company and leading producer Dangote Cement.
According to Aganga, at a meeting for stakeholders from the cement industry held on 7 January 2013 in Abuja, by the end of the entire review the Federal Government will draw up with a new strategy for the industry with three goals. The first is to bring down the price of cement in the country, the second is increase consumption of cement and the third is work on policies to open up the export market.
Aganga defended Nigeria's 10-year implementation of the Backward Integration Policy (BIP). According to Aganga the BIP has resulted in about US$6bn of investment in the sector, with a growth from 2Mt/yr to 28Mt/yr, and it has saved the country foreign exchange of about US$1.4bn/yr. The Nigerian cement industry provides direct and indirect employment for about two million people.
"We have achieved everything we set for ourselves 10 years ago when the BIP was introduced; we want to take the next step as part of our strategy on the way forward," said Aganga.