Governor of Edo State, Adams Oshiomhole, has lauded the aggressive investment drive of the President of Dangote Group, Aliko Dangote, noting that without his resolve to build industries and employ Nigerians, so many youths would have been jobless.
Speaking at the ground-breaking ceremony of six million metric tonnes Dangote Cement’s new plant in Okpella, Edo State, Oshiomole said Nigerians will be forever grateful to the industrialists for helping to reduce the unemployment rate in the country.
Dangote Industries Limited is the largest employer of labour in the country outside the Federal Govement.
The new plant in Okpella, Edo State is also expected to employ over 50,000 youths, both directly and indirectly in in the next 18 months.
Oshiomhole said: “Dangote is a special breed. He is an enigma that has done so much for the Youth of this country. He should be lauded for doing so much to develop our youth and put food on the table of thousands of Nigerians. For us in Edo state, we are grateful and will continue to be grateful for this huge investment”
Noting that the investment was equivalent to the total capital expenditure deployed in the state since he assumed office over seven years ago, he urged other businessmen 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,” Oshiomhole said.
The new 6 million metric tons per annum capacity cement plant is coming on the heels of similar arrangement for another 6 million mtpa cement plant in Itori, in Ogun state where the company is currently running a 12million mtpa cement plants at Ibese, in Yewa division of the state. By this investment, Dangote’s production capacity will go up further to 41m mtpa, in Nigeria alone.In his remark, Aliko Dangote said he would never shy away from investing in Nigeria saying Nigeria still remains the best place to invest in the world.
According to him, “a key factor that drives investments in an economy is the presence of an investor-friendly business climate. Indeed, Edo State today, is one of the most attractive investment destinations in Nigeria.
“The economic reforms in Edo State especially in the area of tax, innovations in rural finance and investment on infrastructure, have produced an enabling environment that has further provided a platform for future growth. All these factors made us consider investing in the State.
“Nigeria is a growing economy. Our developmental challenges are quite enormous and will require the combined efforts of government and private sector to overcome them. It is in this light that we are here to contribute our own quota to transforming the economy of Edo State as we have done elsewhere.
“This project is only one of our several successful projects presently ongoing in parts of the country and outside in more than 15 other locations in African countries, in line with our Pan African investment strategy. Last year June, we commissioned our cement plant in Ethiopia, and in August of same year in Zambia and Cameroon. We commissioned our plant in Tanzania in October. We plan to commission very soon, some of our other African plants in Senegal and South Africa.
In his address of welcome, the Okuokpellagbe of Okpella Kingdom, Dr. Andrew Dirisu lauded the doggedness of the Dangote Cement and prompt response to the call for the establishment of the cement plant. He also commended the state governor for his support in acceding to the desire of the people to have Dangote cement in the Community, since the raw material is available.
In return, he promised that the community will provide necessary enabling environment for the investment to thrive because, it is to the benefit of Okpella and her people for the plant to operate and generate economic activities.
He urged the Company’s management to ensure that the various Corporate Social Responsibility projects that the Dangote Cement is known to have provided for its other host communities, in various sectors should also be replicated in Okpella to the delight of his people.