By Chinwendu Obienyi
The Dangote Industries Group has disclosed that its fertilizer plant would be ready for operations in May 2019.
This is even as the Group revealed that plans are also in place to start selling petrol, diesel and aviation fuel by early 2020 on completion the huge refinery being constructed in Lekki.
Speaking to newsmen during the facility tour at the weekend in Lagos, Governor, Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Godwin Emefiele, while commending the Group for itscommitment towards bringing the project on stream as planned, expressed satisfaction with the facilities on site, adding that the fertilizer plant which is now fully completed, would become operational before the end of May 2019.
Emefiele assured that Nigeria will not only be self-sufficient in the production of refined petroleum products but will also join the league of countries exporting petroleum products out of the country, once the refinery becomes operational by the first quarter of 2020.
His words, “This is certainly a transformational project for Nigeria and it totally keys into the objectives of President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration that says that we need to think about how to conserve foreign exchange, how to diversify the economy and put it in proper perspective. By the time the size of foreign exchange used in importing petroleum products is dimensioned, it is at least one-third of the foreign exchange that the CBN spends to import items into Nigeria today.
The $9 billion project is funded not only by Nigerian banks, but also by foreign banks with the CBN itself contributing about N75 billion in support of the project”
The CBN Governor restated that the apex bank will continue to support and fund individuals and companies that display the determination to help government and CBN in restructuring the economic base of the country as it stands to gain from such ventures.
Also speaking, Chief Executive Officer, Dangote Group, Aliko Dangote, revealed that Nigeria would be the largest exporter of fertilizer and petrochemical alongside refined petroleum products in Africa once the plants are completed.
Dangote further noted that the projects will have a multiplier effect on the nation’s economy in terms of job creation as well as generation of foreign exchange.
He said, “ I would like to thank the Governor of the CBN for encouraging us with this project as it is transforming the Nigerian economy. For the fertilizer plant, the CBN gave us N50 billion support and the refinery which costs about $9 billion, the CBN gave us N75 billion, that is about almost $300 million compared to $9 billion.
So the change in terms of importing 90 per cent of what we consume and also exporting one-third of these products will be a major transformation. Again looking at the gas pipeline that we want to do which involves three billion standard cubic feet of gas supply equivalent to NLNG today and these are projects that I believe would transform the economy of Nigeria. We hope and pray that we have other Nigerians join us in developing our own economy.”
On whether the products will be transported by roads, Dangote noted that 75 per cent of the products will be transported through sea transport, adding that the Group is in discussion with the government and the Nigerian Port Authority toward developing a bypass road from Epe to Benin-Ore road.