Dangote Cement Plc, Africa’s largest manufacturer of building materials, will increase capacity by more than a third to meet Nigeria’s growing demand as the economy recovers.
“We are expanding capacity from around 50,000 tons per day at the beginning of the year to 70,000 tons per day at the end of the year,” said Edwin Devakumar, Group Executive Director at Dangote Industries Ltd., by telephone.
The cement maker, owned by Africa’s richest man, Aliko Dangote, is reactivating idle capacity at its Gboko, Benue state plant, as demand in Africa’s largest economy has risen 40% in the past seven months, Devakumar said.
The International Monetary Fund recently raised its forecast for the country’s economic growth in 2021 from 1.5% to 2.5%. That would be the fastest expansion since 2015.
Nigerian lawmakers earlier this week urged the government to break the dominance of the country’s three largest cement manufacturers in order to encourage more competition and make the market less “price-fixing”. This could cut cement costs, which in Nigeria are more than three times higher than the global average, a lawmaker said.
READ: Nigerian lawmakers want Dangote-led cement dominance to be broken
Devakumar said there is no price fixing in the Nigerian market. “All other manufacturers in the market can sell at their own price,” he said.
Prices have risen due to increased demand, higher diesel costs and the instability of gas supplies for power plants, Devakumar said.
In addition, “transportation tariffs for transporting cement have increased as ports are congested and truck turnaround times are longer,” he said.
In 2020, Dangote Cement’s sales in Nigeria rose year-on-year by 12.9% to 15.9 million t. The company has a market share of 61%, Lafarge Africa Plc 22% and the BUA Group the rest.
Dangote has a large market share in Africa’s most populous country because it has invested in the sector, Devakumar said.
“Our crime is to have faith in the economy and to invest in expanding our capacities,” he said.
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