Dele Ogbodo in Abuja
The Chairman of Ashaka Cement, Mr. Suleiman Yahyah, has signed a N11 billion contract on behalf of Lafarge Africa, with RunhPower Corp of China, for the building of 16megawatts lignite power-fired plant in Akko, Gombe state.
Signing on behalf of LafargeHolcim group, in Abuja, Yahyah, said the project when completed in 2018, will transform the company’s production capacity to 1 million metric tonnes annually.
He said when he took over as chairman of the company in 2015, he made a commitment that he will tackle the biting cost of power problem headlong, adding that he was delighted that the board supported the move to inject the N11billion in its new power plant.
According to him, the project is the first of its kind in the entire North-east, adding the company is biting the bullet and taking the heat on its cash reserves to fund the project.
The chairman added: “Upon completion, it would bolo get rely on Yola DISCO for its requirement and also will no longer depend on LPFO diesel from the epileptic and unstable power regime.
The sustain effort to bring down cost of production will make Ashaka an efficient cement producer in the market.”
Furthermore, he said the North-east in some analysts view is facing an existential threat, adding that the company is only industrial business in the region of over 23 million people that has suffered insurgency with large number of displaced and unemployed people.
He pleaded with President Muhammadu Buhari to declare the North-east zone a tax-free for the next five years because of its numerous challenges.
In a remark, RunhPower Regional Director, Mr. Yuan Shanhui, said the company will do its best to meet the 2018 deadline for the delivery of the project, adding that the company is doing its first project in Nigeria.
In his contribution, the Company’s Project Director, Mr. Bruno Bayet, said the company had relied on electricity from the national grid and generating sets in its over 40 years of production.
He said: “The new power plant will secure long term reliable power supply and improve the reliability of our production operated by firing owned local coal mine reserves in Maiganga, 140km from the plant and will supply consistent energy to boost the plant’s operational efficiency.”