Aliko Dangote, president of Dangote Group, has assured Nigerians that when his refinery is ready, the country would no longer need to import petroleum products.
Speaking at the site of his refinery in Lekki, Dangote said his refinery would put an end to fertiliser importation in Nigeria, transforming the country into a net exporter of refined crude and fertilizer.
“Today, Nigeria imports 100 percent of its fertilizer, but when we finish, Nigeria will be the largest exporter of Urea and Ammonia in Africa,” Dangote said.
“The refinery is the largest single line in Africa and it will meet our total domestic requirement and save foreign exchange. “Thirty-eight per cent of CBN’s foreign exchange is spent on importation of petroleum products. But we can serve the whole West African market.”
Dangote said he had been working with the government and the central bank of Nigeria (CBN) in diversifying the economy.
“We are going to serve the whole domestic market in the next 10 years and also export. We have actually been doing this for a very long time to diversify the economy.
“The government will lay down the policies. The CBN will assist in terms of long-term funding through the banks and even directly now because they have actually helped us quite a lot. That is what we are now trying to do.”
Godwin Emefiele, the CBN governor, who visited the Dangote free trade zone, said the CBN would provide the needed foreign exchange for the refinery, adding that the refinery, upon completion, would generate $6 billion dollars in foreign exchange for Nigeria.
“Imagine what would happen to the savings in foreign exchange by the time the fertilizer plant is completed in 2017 and by the time the refinery and petrochemical plant is completed during the early part of 2018. “We expect that by the time these projects are completed, they will not only meet the needs of our domestic requirements – by the time they are completed, he (Dangote) will be exporting these products to the point where he will be selling foreign exchange to Nigerians and CBN to the tune of almost $6 billion yearly.
“That is the kind of project we think we should support and we think that we need to encourage more Nigerians to begin to think like Aliko Dangote.”
The Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), in its world oil outlook for 2015 said Dangote is responsible for nearly 50 percent of refinery projects in Africa for the next five years. The refinery is expected to cost about N2.8 trillion and refine about 650,000 barrels of crude oil per day.