- Created: Monday, 25 June 2018 16:23
- Written by Bertram Nwannekanma - Guardian.ng
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Confronted with the challenge of housing over 170 million people, various governments had through national development plans made frantic efforts towards ensuring adequate mass housing, especially in urban areas.
However, such efforts at addressing the deficits had not yielded the desired results, leaving the country with huge housing deficits estimated at over 17 million units.Also, the World Bank in 2016 projected that the country required about 700,000 housing units every year to curb this deficit.
According to the World Bank, it would cost the country about N59.5 trillion to address the housing deficits in the country as about 108 million Nigerians are estimated to be homeless, based on an average family of six people per housing unit.With the prevailing situation, it is apparent that the real estate sector required aggressive private sector intervention, especially in the area of building materials, which are major components in housing delivery.
It is in the light of this that the news of Ibeto cement ’s historic reverse merger with Century Petroleum Corporation, a United States of America publicly traded petroleum exploration and production company is heartwarming.Incidentally, a report by Morgan Stanley, a United States multinational financial services firm states that “cement consumption per capita tends to rise initially with rising GDP per capita but then falls as countries mature economically.” The country’s construction industry/sector is only 3.2 per cent of the Gross Domestic Product, GDP. Drawing from this fact, World Bank statistics confirm 60% of Nigeria’s estimated population of over 180 million (projected to grow between 3.8per cent and 4.5 per cent per annum) is caught in the trap of homelessness. Massive urbanization and infrastructural development are thus in the visible horizons.
The merger bestrides two key sectors of the Nigerian economy: cement as well as petroleum.While it is popular knowledge that latter remains at the core of our national economy, cement is also a key indicator of any economy.It has long been traditional economic wisdom that the sufficiency of housing or lack therefore in a country is directly proportional to its level of economic development.
As it is in Nigeria so in Africa generally: African nations are currently at the low end of cement consumption relative to other emerging economies.With growing populations, it is predicted that consumption of cement in Sub-Saharan Africa will grow by an average of between 7 per cent and 10 per cent year on year over the next two decades. Yet, Nigeria and Senegal are the only two countries in the entire West African sub region that are blessed with limestone deposits in commercial quantities.
The merger has also made Ibeto a global player in cement world production, which presents huge boost towards mitigating the nation’s housing problems.Speaking on this milestone, Dr. Cletus M. Ibeto, who had already taken over as Chairman of the Board of Directors, said: “this is in line with our collective dreams to place Nigeria in its rightful place in the comity of nations”.
“It has been a long journey since I have been in business and none of our companies or businesses has gone public so far. In line with our collective dreams to place Nigeria in its rightful place in the comity of nations, we had to come up with a strategy to build a formidable structure for companies that will outlive me.”He also lauded stakeholders in the historic merger, including the government, shareholders, investors, and the larger Nigerian society for this landmark development, which will improve the level of actualisation of the huge cement business opportunities around Africa.
“Everybody knows that Ibeto Group has billions of dollar investments in Nigeria; but the time has come to replicate the successes we have enjoyed in Africa and globally. Century Petroleum Corporation is the vehicle for using our wealth of experience for the benefit of people within and beyond Africa”, he added.Located in BunduAma, Port Harcourt, Rivers State, Ibeto Cement Company Limited, began cement bagging operations at its bagging terminal in Port Harcourt in 2005.
It is an ultra-modern bagging plant with a flat-storage capacity of 50,000 metric tonnes and a production capacity of 1,500,000 metric tonnes yearly, which translates to a production capacity of 4,000+ metric tonnes per day.