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The CBN governor urged cement makers to pay more attention to meeting domestic demand.

He said: “Let me take this opportunity to call on our manufacturers in the construction sector to take urgent action to bring down the prices of construction materials in Nigeria.

“Indeed, there have recently been calls from construction companies, urging cement and steel manufacturers to do something about the soaring prices of these two essential items in the construction sector.

“This sector is one of the major sectors of the economy contributing to the creation of jobs and the growth of our country.

“We are aware that some of our cement companies produce for both the domestic market and for export, but we urge them to pay more attention to meeting domestic needs in order to drive prices down.”

Emefiele assured the manufacturers of the apex bank’s determination to always provide the necessary support to improve their capacity.

He said the CBN had not provided foreign exchange to anyone for importing cement in the past seven years.

“The CBN wishes to reiterate its determination to provide the necessary support for the import of spare parts, plants and equipment necessary to increase the production capacities of our cement plants in the country.

“The decision to restrict access to foreign exchange for imports of 43 items that can be produced in Nigeria, has helped boost the country’s cement production capacity from 30 million metric tons in 2014 to 60 million metric tons in 2021.

“Thanks to this investment by local businessmen in the cement manufacturing sector, our nation has been able to save billions of millions of dollars.

“Not a dollar from our external reserves has been spent on importing cement into the country for the past six years,” he said.

The CBN Governor added that the investments had created several thousand jobs in several sectors of the economy.

“I am particularly pleased to see that the sustained efforts and ingenuity of the Nigerian private sector are bearing abundant fruit in broad daylight.

“These efforts, such as the one deployed here today by the BUA Group, are essential complementary ingredients to reducing unemployment and boosting productive activities in our country,” he said.

He said these investments were also helpful in supporting the CBN’s mandate to promote stable macro-economic growth.