With the near completion of Dangote’s Fertilizer plant scheduled to become operational by May 2019, and the refinery, a year after, the Federal Government has stated that importation of such commodities will cease while the nation’s import bill will reduce significantly.
Besides, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has stated that it would increase the number of items on the foreign exchange restriction list from 42 to 50 in due course.
Also, President of Dangote Group, Aliko Dangote has allayed fears that the refined products are designed solely for export, adding that efforts are underway to address the gaps in logistics while serving the local market.
Similarly, the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Godwin Emefiele, by the time the refinery takes off around the first quarter of 2020, Nigeria will not only be self-sufficient in the production of refined petroleum products but also will join the league of countries exporting petroleum products out of the country.
Speaking during Emefiele’s visit to the ongoing projects in Lagos, at the weekend, the CBN Governor stated that at least a third of the foreign exchange that the apex bank spends to import items into Nigeria today is spent on fuel.
“By the time we dimension the size of foreign exchange we use in importing petrol into the country today, it is at least one third of the foreign exchange that central bank spends to import items into Nigeria today.
“By the time we also 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 and items that can be produced locally and are being imported into the country are added into the restriction list.
“By the time we add the savings from the production, 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 that I will be alive at the time this project is fully commissioned. we need to really thank the president of Dangote Industries, Alhaji Aliko Dangote for this gigantic project”, he added.
Meanwhile, Aliko Dangote has stated that no less than $2 billion has been invested in the fertiliser project, with additional N50 billion support from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), while no less than $9 billion is being invested in the refinery project with the apex bank supporting with N75 billion.
According to him, the projects will transform the nation’s economy, adding that the biggest problem that the country has is that it imports more than it produces like any other African countries.
“By the time we finish our fertilizer plant, Nigeria will be the largest exporting fertilizer country 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. So, there will be a change in terms of importing 90 per cent of what we consume and also exporting”, he added.
On job creation, Dangote explained that several industries will be created by the time the project kicks off, noting that the projects are transformational and will create a lot of jobs.
On the state of infrastructure as well as logistics for the movement of product, Dangote said that 75 per cent of the capacity will be moved via sea while for the fertiliser, some will be exported.
“To avoid the situation in Apapa, we are also talking to government to develop a bypass road that will link Epe to Benin-Ore road for the sake of other regions. We are going to have that discussion between ourselves and the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA). We are also the same company building the Apapa-Oworonshoki road up till the toll gate”, he added.