From Tony Osauzo, Benin
THE construction of another cement plant with 4,500 direct and 45,000 indirect jobs capacity was yesterday flagged off by the Dangote Group at Okpella in Etsako East Local Government Area of Edo State.
The Federal Government at the event announced it has concluded plans to meet with the 36 state governors to simplify access to land by investors in the mining industry.
The Minister of Solid Minerals, Dr. Kayode Fayemi disclosed this at the groundbreaking ceremony of the over $1 billion 2-line six million metric tonnes capacity cement plant.
Commending the Dangote Group for championing the Federal Government industrialisation policy, Fayemi lamented that only 0.24 percent of the country’s GDP comes from the mining industry, but anticipated that with continuous investment in that sector, Nigeria is expected to earn $25 billion per annum by the year 2025.
In his speech, Minister of Trade, Investment and Industry, Dr. Okechukwu Enelamah, who spoke through Hajiya Aisha Abubakar, said the groundbreaking ceremony marked another mile stone in the history of Dangote family.
“What we are witnessing today is a path to national development and peace,” he said, urging the Dangote group to embark on constructive manufacturing and mentorship of the young ones to grow.
He also urged the Dangote Group and other investors to always honour agreements reached with their host communities in other to ensure safety of their investments.
Also speaking at the event, Governor Adams Oshiomhole noted that all the money invested by the state government on infrastructure in the past seven and half years, was a little less than what the Dangote Group is investing in the Okpella cement plant.
“We recognise that the plant that is being set up, for which we are doing the groundbreaking today, is worth over $1 billion. It means that all the activities of Edo State Government over the past seven and half years is just about the same value of what we are about to commence today,” he said.
He commended Chief Dangote for choosing to be at work in a small village, on a Sunday and the very day of his 59th birthday anniversary, rather than closing the streets of Lagos and Kano in celebration of his birthday.
Welcoming guests earlier, the Chairman of Etsako East Local Government Area, Prince Suleman Afegbua, who lauded Governor Oshiomhole for attracting the citing of the plant in Okpella, noted that the “establishment of a gargantuan cement plant in Okpella by Dangote, will not only make Nigeria self-reliant but a strong exporter of the products to other countries.”