Only a few days ago, he was adjudged Nigeria’s second richest man, a feat he achieved by putting the interest of Nigerians, especially his Northeast region into selfless consideration. He is the Chairman, Chief Executive Officer, BUA Group, Alhaji Abdulsamad Rabiu.
Describing his efficiency, notable Nigerians, who attended the opening of the 3 million metric tonnes per annum BUA Cement Sokoto Line 4 Factory or 3MPTA BUA cement, line 4 cement plant, in Sokoto, took turns to remark the importance of the industrialist, who on many occasions, has made the Forbes list of billionaires in the world, following his inclination to creating millionaires through the provision of veritable employment opportunities, with special focus on those of his northwest origin. Today, he is the fifth richest man in Africa, and the second richest man in Nigeria.
The BUA Cement Sokoto Line 4 was built to the following specifications: three million metric tonnes per annum capacity; 6,000 TPD ILC with the highest energy efficiency and latest pollution abating equipment; 48 MW dual fuel power Plant and so on. The Line 5 is already in the works and should be ready in the first quarter of 2023.
With an array of political, financial and entrepreneurial presence at the occasion, the person of Alhaji Samad and the importance of his BUA Group were brought to the fore and celebrated. Leading the fray of eulogies, Nigeria’s president, Muhammadu Buhari, could not hide his joy at the impact of the entrepreneurial giant, noting that he has remained the largest employer of labour in the northwest region of Nigeria.
He said: “I am pleased that through these investments, BUA Cement has created employment opportunities for our citizens. Today, BUA is the largest employer of labour in the North-West region.
“I always remind Nigerians that every region, indeed every state, in Nigeria sits on huge reserves of resources. For example, in this area, Kebbi, Sokoto and Zamfara can boast of rice production, gold and other precious metals development and of course, heavy industries like cement manufacturing.
”As a government, we introduced policies and mechanisms to support such investments in a legal, ethical and inclusive manner.
”For example, we have the National Food Security Council on Food Security Matters and the Presidential Artisanal Gold Mining Development Initiative to develop local artisanal gold mining and ensure health and safety of mining workers and protect the environment.
”We remain prepared to support serious investors to set up businesses that will take advantage of these opportunities through value addition so as to take advantage of the huge market here, as well as in the greater African region and the world at large.”
Recalling how he, as Head of State in 1985, was at the same location to commission the 2nd line of the facility, the president expressed quite a feeling of nostalgia.
”Today, almost 37 years later, to commission the fourth line is a very special day for me personally.
”As you all know, one of the key economic pillars of our administration has been to create an enabling environment for businesses to thrive. This is necessary for job creation and indeed, for our economy and national security.
”In the past few weeks, I visited Ogun and Kaduna states where I observed many private sector investments in action. And today, I am here in Sokoto to commission this multi-billion Naira project.
”It is therefore very clear for all to see that our policies are working. Progress is gradually being made in all parts of the country,” he said.
In his speech as well, the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Mr. Godwin Emefiele, lauded the seasoned entrepreneur, and appealed to manufacturers of building materials in the country to bring down cost of building materials to affordable price for ordinary citizens.
Speaking about the high cost of building materials in the country, he said, “let me use this opportunity to appeal to our manufacturers to please take urgent actions in bringing down price of building materials in Nigeria.
“Indeed, there have been call by construction companies urging the cement and steel manufacturers to do something about the skyrocket price of these two essential items in the manufacturing sector.
“These sector is one of the major sectors of our economy that contribute to the creation of employment and produce for both domestic and export use. Please pay more attention at satisfying our domestic needs, so that prices can come down,” Emefiele said.
He assured that the Central Bank of Nigeria on its part will continue to provide needed support in the provision of need cash, plants and equipment, needed to improve the capacity of the cement production in the country
He said the Central Bank of Nigeria is ready to assist existing investors, both the current and prospective manufacturers that the bank is ready to continue to collaborate with them in enabling the development of viable manufacturing sector in the country.
In his response, Abdul Samad Rabiu commended the President for creating the enabling environment for businesses to thrive, and acknowledged the support of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and its Governor in setting up the gigantic project.
He noted that, ”so far, we have invested over a billion dollars in the past four years and we urge the CBN to continue to support industries like ours that use locally sourced raw materials to add value.”
He pledged that BUA would continue to invest more in the cement industry until Nigeria is self-sufficient and the commodity is made available, accessible, and affordable for all Nigerians.
”In the past 6 years, we have completed 4 plants – two in Obu, Edo State and two in Sokoto (of which this Sokoto line 4 is the fourth) with BUA’s total production capacity now standing at 11.5 million tonnes with the completion of this plant.
”Next year, we intend to complete the construction of two new plants of 3 million metric tonnes each for which construction is ongoing – one in Edo and the other, here in Sokoto.”
The Chairman of BUA said he looked forward to President Buhari commissioning these plants next year which will bring total production capacity to 17.5 million metric tonnes.
RABIU’S FULL SPEECH
Your Excellency, The President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, President Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR Your Excellency, the Governor of Sokoto State & distinguished guests.
Your Excellency Sir, may I seek your permission to please stand on the already established protocols? Thank you.
I would like to start by expressing my most profound appreciation to Your Excellency, Mr President, for gracing today’s commissioning despite your busy schedule. Your presence here today, sir, is another affirmation of your unwavering commitment to Nigerian businesses and your vision to industrializing Nigeria.I also welcome You and everyone else to the commissioning of the BUA Cement Sokoto Line 4 at this historic location – a location steeped in history, and one where Mr. President commissioned the second line in 1985 when he was Head of State.President, a little over four and half years ago, shortly after the commissioning of BUA’s first greenfield cement complex – the 3million metric tonnes per annum BUA Cement Obu Line 1 by His Excellency, the Vice President, we continued our audacious yet structured expansion programme to meet the ever-growing demand for cement in Nigeria with regional exports also in focus.We had a vision to support your government’s infrastructure agenda by ensuring we use locally available raw materials to produce cement here in Nigeria.In the past 6 years, we have completed 4 plants – two in Obu, Edo State and two in Sokoto (of which this sokoto line 4 is the fourth) with BUA’s total production capacity now standing at 11million tonnes with the completion of this plant.Next year, we intend to complete the construction of two new plants of 3 million metric tonnes each for which construction is ongoing – one in Edo and the other here in Sokoto. We expect these plants to be completed next year which will bring our total production capacity to 17million metric tonnes. We look forward to Your Excellency coming to commission them by the first quarter of 2023 ISA.President, distinguished guests, BUA will continue to invest more in the cement industry until Nigeria is self-sufficient and cement is made available, accessible, and affordable for all Nigerians.President, there are many reasons one can attributeto the important nature of this plant. The attendant effect of these investments in new factories go beyond the community and the state. It extends to the region and the entire country.From a job creation and economic standpoint, the Sokoto plant continues to be the largest private sector employer of labour in the North-Western part of Nigeria. Also, by adding value to resources mined in Nigeria, Nigeria is being saved billions of US dollars in foreign exchange that would have been spent on importation, whilst also ensuring product availability. In fact, 95% of all the raw materials used in our cement manufacturing process are sourced locally.In addition to this, and our investment in social impact and CSR programmes for the community and sokoto state at all levels, we are also committed to environmental sustainability. We have diversified our energy sources by introducing greener alternatives – in this case, LNG – to power the kiln and 48 megawatts power plant. Our power plants are now running on 100% LNG leading to reduced carbon emissions. This is the first of its kind at any cement factory in Nigeria.What this means also, is that as soon as the AKK gas project comes on stream, we are ready to be one of the first off-takers to satisfy our energy needs. This will also encourage further industrialization within the region, open new industries and ensure greater development and prosperity for this region and the nation in general.Mr President Sir, all of this will not have been possible without your support and commitment to the development of the Nigerian economy.As a Proudly Nigerian Company, we will do our best to continue to support those efforts.The support of the Central Bank of Nigeria and its Governor in setting up this gigantic project is also worthy of mention. So far, we have invested over a billion dollars in the past four years and we urge the CBN to continue to support industries like ours that use locally sourced raw materials to add value because as mentioned earlier, these industries potentially save the country billions of dollars yearly and also ensure products are readily available across the length and breadth of the country.I must also thank specifically, His Excellency, the Governor of Sokoto State – Rt Honourable Aminu Tambuwal who has never wavered in his support in ensuring an enabling environment for BUA Cement to thrive. Thank you, Your Excellency.In the same vein, our partnership with our host community, Kalambaina Community, has been mutually beneficial. The people of Kalambaina have been so cooperative, peaceful, and supporting of the business and our activities. This has ensured a mostly hitch-free operation in this area for more than five decades and has given us the confidence to invest more whilst adding to the socio-economic development of the area through various investments in infrastructure, education, healthcare, jobs, and other social impact areas.
Distinguished guests, I would like to restate that BUA Cement remains fully committed in making cement more available, affordable, and accessible using raw materials available locally. This is important for housing and infrastructure development as well as national development and we will keep doing our own part to actualize this goal.
Finally, I want to thank Mr President for his commitment to the growth and development of manufacturing, mining, and other key industries in this country.
Businesses can only thrive if the enabling environment is right and is supported by the right policies.
We are aware of your government’s efforts, but we know that government alone cannot do it without the positive collaboration and support of the private sector. This is where we come in and we will continue to support national and economic development as we have always done.
Once again, I welcome all our distinguished guests to the commissioning of the 3 million metric tonnes BUA Cement Sokoto Line 4.