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Dangote: Boosting Nigeria’s Drive To Attain Self-sufficiency In Fertiliser Production

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The Dangote fertiliser plant which is part of the multi-billion dollar petrochemical complex located at Lekki Free Trade Zone, Ibeju-Lekki, Lagos, will begin operation in second quarter of the year.

Also, the Dangote refinery, when completed, will become the largest single train refinery in the world. The refinery is a 650,000 barrels per day capacity. The refinery, sited on 2,600 hectares of land, will produce gasoline, diesel, aviation fuel/household kerosene, slurry as raw material for carbon black, as well as 750,000 mtpa of polypropylene and fertilizer.

This project, when fully completed, would end the country’s dependence on imports, while reviving and transforming the nation’s economy by making it an exporter of oil.

Similarly, the Dangote Fertiliser Plant is the largest in Africa to produce three million tonnes capacity. Indeed, it will help Nigeria attained self-sufficiency.in fertilizer production

The governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Godwin Emefiele, at the weekend,  took a tour of the Dangote refinery, fertiliser and petrochemical complex in Lekki Free Trade Zone Lagos. During his visit, he was delighted on how far works on the ground have gone as he commended the Dangote Industries.

Emefiele said that “we were here a year and nine months ago and what we saw then was swan being reclaim by the project owners, the Dangote Industries. We have decided to come again after over a year to see progress that have being done, which was impressive.”

He noted after the tour which took over four hours comprising a visit to Dangote fertiliser plants, which is fully completed should be operational by April or May this year. We all have seen the equipment that comprises of petrochemical plant.

He pointed out that though Nigeria is currently almost self-sufficiency in fertilizer production, the size of the Dangote fertilizer plant is twice that of Eleme Petrochemical. He further stated that by the time the refinery takes off around the first quarter of 2020, Nigeria will not only be self-sufficiency in the production of refined petroleum products, but also will join the league of countries exporting petroleum products.

“I am sure by that time, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) will be begging Dangote to sell foreign exchange to her. The petrochemical plant I understand is also about ten times the size of the petrochemical plant of Eleme.

“We all attest that to the fact this is certainly a transformational project for Nigeria and it totally key into the objectives of President Muhammadu Buhari’s policy in conserving foreign exchange and diversifying the economy,” Emefiele said.

According to the CBN governor, by the time we dimension the size of foreign exchange we use in importing petrol into the country today, which is one third of the foreign exchange and when we add the 42 items, which of course we are increasing from 42 to 50 in due course, we are getting more aggressive in ensuring that foods, items that are being imported into the country are added into the restriction list.

He said: “By the time we add the savings from the production of the export of petroleum product and with the foreign exchange that should have been spent on food items, close to almost 55 to 60 per cent of what the government spend in funding its foreign exchange operation would have been saved in the country.

“I am truly looking forward for these projects to be fully commissioned. We need to really thank the president of Dangote Industries, Alhaji Aliko Dangote for this gigantic project,” he said

He restated the CBN’s commitment in supporting any Nigerian companies that priorities or take priority for manufacturing items and agriculture items along the entire value chain.

“If there are companies that are interested in diversifying the economy, in ensuring they join government in restructuring the base of Nigeria’s economy, the CBN stands ready to provide funding both in naira and foreign exchange in exportation of the manufacturing items that is needed to get the project on ground.

“I seize this opportunity to repeat this commitment that when we find companies like the Dangote Industries venturing into this kind of project, CBN stands ready to give them all the support both in naira funding and also providing foreign exchange that they need to import their equipment because we know that ultimately this country stands to gain from the venture.”

He explained that the Dangote Refinery’s $9 billion project is being funded by 60 per cent of Dangote equities, the remaining 40 per cent is debt from both local and foreign banks, while the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) supported with N75 billion for the refinery and N50 billion for the fertilizer.

He said the N75 billion support by CBN is just a drop compared to about $9 billion that the project costs, emphasising that “we will continue to show support to individuals and companies that display the determination to support government in restructuring the base of the country.”

Also, the president of Dangote Group, Alhaji Aliko Dangote said that “we have couples of project here, the fertilizer, which cost $2 billion, CBN gave us N50 billion to support the project, while the refinery, which we are spending $9 billion, you have given us N75 billion”, appreciating the moral support and encouragement received from the CBN.

“This projects will transform Nigeria economy, the biggest problem we have is that Nigeria import more than what it produce. But by the time we finished our fertilizer plant, Nigeria will be the largest nation exporting fertilizer in Africa. We will also be the largest exporter of petrochemical head to head with South Africa and we will be the biggest in Africa in exporting petroleum forex.”

He urged other Nigerians to join in developing the economy. He said they need to risk their capital and come in and do what we believe that will help to grow the economy. He added that “with the support of government, we will try and transform key areas of the economy, just like what we did in Cement industry.”

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