Aliko Dangote, Africa’s richest man, has been asked by the Nigerian government to finish construction of a vast crude oil refinery ahead of its expected completion date in 2019. Minister of state for petroleum resources Ibe Kachikwu said this on a visit to the refinery site in Lagos on Tuesday. “It is good to say that private sector is the answer to Nigeria’s problems with a project as big as this. The challenge I will give you today is that of time; I see your time for completion is 2019 December, but I am sure you will understand my greed if I tell you that the refinery component of this project should come earlier than the set date.“I have made very firm commitment to Nigerians that I must stop the importation of petroleum products by 2019 and I am going to keep to it. It is absolutely important that we do this early and given the feat that we have achieved in terms of speed of construction and I urge you to do all within you to achieve its completion before the due date.“I am sure His Excellency President Buhari will be absolutely enthused if he were to find himself, not only crystallizing the policy position we have taken so far, but also coming here himself to come and open a facility as big as this before the end of his first term. Whatever configurations your engineers have come up with, I urge that they go back to the drawing board and get me my refined products before your said date.”The project is said to be “the world’s largest single line refinery and petrochemical complex, and the world’s second largest urea fertiliser plant” and in his response to the government’s plead, Mr. Dangote said he has accepted the challenge and would do all possible to achieve the feat.
The President of Dangote Group, stated: “On the honourable minister’s challenge, we are going to make it by the grace of God. I am sure the minister will support us to make sure that we meet his challenge. What the minister is trying to do is the best so far for our country, his own version is that Nigeria should not think of exporting crude; you know the problem we have in Africa is that we only export raw materials, not finished goods, so he is saying that, look, we should all do this by adding value and I pray that even at 2.5 million barrels, we should not export much, in terms of the crude.
“We will go back and see what to do to make this happen by fast tracking our processes since the Minister has assured of government’s cooperation and support”.Photo Credit: Getty