The Standards Organisation of Nigerian has certified the products manufactured by Dangote Cement Plc which accounts for more than 60 percent of cement produced in the country
| By Anayo Ezugwu | Dec. 29, 2014 @ 01:00 GMT |
THE Standards Organisation of Nigeria, SON, has approved the quality, environmental and safety measures put in place by the Dangote Cement Plc. Devakumar Edwin, group managing director, Dangote Cement Plc, in a statement, said the business units were certified for quality management, occupational, health and safety as well as environmental management system.
According to him, the company’s cement plants in Gboko, Ibese and Obajana had been certified for ISO 9001, quality management system, ISO 14001, environmental management system and BS OHSAS 18001, Occupational Health and Safety Management system. Other units which have been certified by SON, are Agrosacks Nigeria Limited, Dangote Sugar Refinery Plc, Dangote Salt, Dangote Flour Mills Plc and Dangote Pasta Limited.
“The ISO certification touched on quality, health and safety and environmental management, which are the areas the management does not compromise on for quality products, and safety of the environment within where we operates as well as the well being of employees,” he said.
Dangote Cement Plc embarked on a campaign to sensitise members of the public on the liberalisation of its distributorship for equal opportunity and also started the expansion of its distribution network through the commissioning of more depots across the country with the aim of bringing the product closer to the consumers Edwin said the era of cement scarcity was over as the volume being produced nationwide had increased with an ongoing capacity expansion drive across Africa.
The company had in November 2014, announced the reduction in the prices of its brand of cement. The company during the announcement of the new price regime pegged the price of Dangote 32.5 cement grade at N1,000 per 50 kg bag, while the higher 42.5 grade would sell for N1,150 per bag. Edwin said the move was in line with the company’s commitment to the nation’s dire need for the development of infrastructure and to boost the federal and state government’s ongoing effort to reduce the near 20 million housing deficit in Africa’s largest economy.
“We recognise the need for an increased rapid response to the huge infrastructure and housing deficit in the country, and one of the ways of addressing the issue is bringing the price of building materials down to much more affordable levels especially cement which is within our control as part of our contribution to the transformation agenda of the Goodluck Jonathan administration and the attainment of key milestones in the Millennium Development Goals, MDGs.
“Since the commencement of the implementation of the backward integration policy for cement in the country over 12 years ago, the local production capacity of the product rose from less than three million metric tonnes per annum to about 38 million metric tonnes per annum. During the more than 12-year period of the backward integration policy, nearly $20 billion has been directly and indirectly injected into the Nigerian cement industry with Dangote Cement Plc accounting for 60 percent of that spends,” he said.
According to Edwin, Dangote Cement Plc would continue to ensure alignment of its corporate social responsibility with its strategic business initiatives and will continue to evaluate its pricing regime in Nigeria’s best interest. He said the need to meet the aspiration of the consumers made the company to crash cement price to N1,000. The company is taking further step to deliver the product to the dealers with its enhanced transportation system to reduce the retail price of its product in the country. “We have also drastically reduced the price of 42.5, which is our premium, to N1,150 per bag ex -factory, ex-VAT for the benefits to trickle down to the consumers. We have enough trucks to deliver cement at the door steps of dealers and consumers,” he said.
The products would, henceforth, be delivered at the door steps of consumers in the south south, southeast and southwest at the rate of N100 per bag because of the proximity of their factories to these regions. There are also mechanisms in place to monitor the sale of the product. The company is also optimistic that reduction in the price of cement will increase per capital consumption of cement in the country.
The new prices are exclusive of the Value Added Tax, VAT, representing about 40 percent discount on the prevailing market price of the product currently sold for N1,700 irrespective of the grade, across the country.
Investigations have shown that since the implementation of the backward integration policy for cement about 12 years ago, the local production capacity of cement has risen from a meagre 2 million metric tonnes per annum to the current 38 million metric tonnes per annum. Stakeholders have noted that in the last 12-years of the backward integration policy, more than $20 billion has been directly and indirectly sunk into the nation’s cement subsector with Dangote Cement accounting for almost 60 percent of the total expenses. With this development, the nation’s cement market has entered a high demand phase; especially as dry season is setting in, which is the peak for increased construction activities in the country.
Nigeria is likely to go back to the 2012 era, where the country was almost self-sufficient in cement production, which necessitated the ban on importation of the product. However, the cement sector is still plagued with so many challenges like infrastructural deficit, power problem and access to funds among others. The hope is that government will at least help the sector by improving infrastructural facilities in the country.