President Goodluck Jonathan on Tuesday announced that the Federal Government had signed a Memorandum of Understanding for the construction of a new railway line that will run from Lagos to Calabar and also extend to the Obudu Cattle Ranch.
The President made the announcement when he performed the groundbreaking of the second cement line being constructed by the United Cement Company of Nigeria Limited in Mfamosing, Akamkpa Local Government Council of Cross River State.
This came just as Chairman of the Board of UniCem, Mr. John Coumantaros, said the additional 2.5-million-metric-tonne per annum line would be constructed at the cost of N84bn, adding that the project, which is expected to be completed in 2016, would bring the production capacity of the company to five million metric tonnes per annum.
Jonathan, who was represented by Vice- President Namadi Sambo, said it was commendable that barely five years after UniCem unveiled its first line of 2.5 million metric tonnes, the company had already concluded plans to double its production capacity.
He said, “In 2002, the Federal Government formulated the backward integration policy for the cement industry to facilitate Nigeria’s drive in self-sufficiency for cement production. It should be noted that within a decade, there had been a phenomenal growth from two million metric tonnes per annum to 39.5 million metric tonnes per annum of installed capacity.
“We are impressed that just five years after the first line in UniCem, we are gathered here again today for the second line, which will add 2.5 million metric tonnes per annum to the company’s capacity. This is ample growth of operational efficiency and the resilience of the management of UniCem.
Speaking on the proposed railway line from Lagos to Calabar, Jonathan said, “Indeed, I will like to state that very soon, the 550 megawatts station will be inaugurated. Also, on the railway line, I am also glad to inform you that the Memorandum of Understanding for the construction of a new railway line from Lagos to Calabar has been signed, and we hope that any moment from now, work will commence.