The willingness of the manufacturing firm Cemenco to continue to make foreign direct investments in Liberia indicates significant vote of confidence in the stability and safety of the country’s investment climate, President George Weah has said.
He was speaking Thursday at the Cemenco compound along Japan Highway (formerly Freeway) where he cut the ribbon to the new US$14 million “state-of-the-art” production facility recently built as additional infrastructure to its exiting cement plant.
The venture by Cemenco, a subsidiary of the Germany-based Heidelberg Cement Group, is meant to widen its production capacity to meet the growing demand for quality cement on the Liberian market, especially when the government is embarking vigorously on road construction and other infrastructure development in the implementation of the Pro-poor Agenda for Prosperity and Development.
This new development will also see the Cemenco expand its profit margin, said Ms. Vivian Wisner, an authorized cement distributor since 2005. She believes this new development could later result in the drop in the price of a bag of cement, but said, however, it was a decision for the company.
Now, as elated as President Weah seemed, he hoped that the facility will not only increase the company’s total production capacity, but will also introduce new technologies and bring new efficiencies to its cement production.
“I am gratified to see this development, and I want to congratulate you, Cemenco, and your parent company, the Heidelberg Cement Group. This is an indication of your level of trust in the Liberian economy.”
“Your investment is timely because, I can state with firm conviction, after two years of assessment, which have necessitated many corrections and adjustments, that the Liberian economy is now poised for growth.”
The Liberian leader continued: “There will be many new projects which will require your product, including roads, and the rollout of new infrastructure. The creation of new jobs in the private sector will continue to drive demand for cement.”
Hakan Gurdal, Cemenco’s CEO for African-East Mediterranean region, said his company was proud to produce locally and contribute to the Liberian economy.
He added that Cemenco has been creating direct and indirect employment opportunities for Liberians, while “respecting highest quality in production, environmental, health and safety of international standard.”
Meanwhile, the Chairman of the House of Representatives Committee on Investment and Concession, Rep. Tibelrosa Tarponweh, reminded Cemenco of its obligation to proactively fulfill its corporate social responsibility to Liberians.
He said while the company’s contribution to the Liberian economy “cannot be overemphasized,” it should understand that “the task ahead is tedious; let’s join our government to make sure that the goals of development are realized.”
Cemenco is one of the oldest firms operating in the Liberia. Its original factory was opened in early January 1968 and it holds a monopoly on the production of cement in the country.