By Babajide Okeowo
The Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Mr Godwin Emefiele, has urged manufacturers in the construction industry to bring down prices of building materials in the interest of the Nigerian masses.
According to a statement from the apex bank, Emefiele made the appeal on Thursday in Sokoto, at the Commissioning Ceremony of the three million metric ton Cement Plant by the BUA Group.
The CBN governor urged cement manufacturers to pay more attention to satisfying domestic demand.
He said: “Permit me to seize this opportunity to appeal to our manufacturers in the construction sector to take urgent action in bringing down the prices of building materials in Nigeria .
“Indeed, there has recently been calls by construction companies , urging cement and steel manufacturers to do something about the skyrocketing prices of these two essential items in the construction sector.
“This sector is one of the major sectors in the economy helping to create employment and boosting growth in our country.
“We are aware that some of our cement manufacturers are producing for both the domestic and exports market, but we urge them to pay more attention at satisfying the domestic needs so as to bring down prices.”
Emefiele assured the manufacturers of the apex bank’s determination to always provide the needed support to improve their capacity.
He said that the the CBN had not provided foreign exchange to anyone for the importation of cement in the last seven years.
“The CBN wishes to reiterate its determination to provide needed support for importation of spares, plants and equipment needed to increase production capacities of our cement plants in the country.
“The decision to restrict access to foreign exchange for imports of 43 items that can be produced in Nigeria, helped to boost the production capacity of cement in the country from 30 million metric tons in 2014 to 60 million MT in 2021.
” Consequent upon this investment by local businessmen into the cement manufacturing sector, our nation has been able to conserve billions of millions of dollars.
“No dollar from our external reserves have been spent on import of cement into the country in the last six years,” he said.
The CBN governor added that the investments had created several thousands of jobs across multiple sectors of the economy.
“I am particularly delighted to see that the painstaking efforts and ingenuity of Nigeria’s private sector is yielding bountiful fruits in broad daylight.
“These efforts, such as the one being displayed here today by the BUA Group, are critical complementary ingredients to reducing unemployment and boosting production activities in our country,” he said.
He said that such investments were also helpful in supporting the CBN’s mandate of promoting stable macro-economic growth.