The President, Dangote group, Alhaji Aliko Dangote on Sunday announced the commencement of the company’s $1billion cement plant in Okpella, north of Edo State.
The groundbreaking event of the six million metric tonnes per annum (mmtpa) integrated cement plant was part of the activities to mark Dangote’s 59th birthday.
The Minister of solid minerals, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, who spoke during the ceremony, described the investment as consistent with the policy drive of the Federal Government targeted at the diversification of the economy from crude oil.
According to him, the mining sector would contribute over $25 billion to the national economy, creating huge revenue flows to drive it in the face of rapidly declining crude oil prices.
“The mining sector has the capacity to contribute over $25 billion to the national economy by 2025, creating new employment opportunities, developing local content and increasing tax revenue for the state and the federal governments”, Fayemi said.
The Edo state governor, Adams Oshiomole, said the investment was equivalent to the total capital expenditure deployed in the state since he assumed office over seven years ago. He called on other business men and women to emulate the investment drive of Dangote, saying that this was the only way the country would grow from strength to strength and create job opportunities for the nation’s teeming unemployed youths.
“Over the next 26 months, cement will be rolling out of the facility and I want to say that this investment would not have been possible without peace and confidence in the state”, Oshiomole said.
He noted that the investment would create job opportunities for about 24,000 people directly and indirectly.
The Minister of State for Industry, Trade and Investment, Mrs. Aisha Abubakar, in her speech, said the investment was a proof that Nigeria could move away and survive with non-oil products.
She also noted that Dangote was the largest employer of labour after the federal government, adding that the minstry would continue to partner the firm in terms of innovation and technological development.