Central Bank Governor, Godwin Emefiele, has said the country will save about $3bn from petroleum imports annually when Dangote Refinery is fully operational. He said latest records show petroleum products took about 25% of imports.
Emefiele spoke when he paid a visit to inspect Dangote Refinery and Petrochemical Company in Ibeju-Lekki, Lagos, on Friday. Some banks chief executives were also part of the visit. During the visit, Dangote Fertilizer Limited disclosed the formal commencement of production of Urea in commercial quantity and plan to hit the Nigerian market on Monday.
The CBN governor said the bank was introducing initiatives to support indigenous producers to stimulate local production and preserve forex in the country. He added, “Imagine if this refinery comes to life, hopefully by first quarter of next year, where we have propylene, polyethylene, granules and other by-products from petrochemicals, we will be saving about $3bn worth of import annually.
“For me, that is extremely gratifying. Don’t forget that I keep asking what is the contribution of import to our GDP? Contribution of import to GDP is negative, and if we can reduce our import by about $3bn annually, imagine how our GDP will be growing. That is the science behind what we are doing. Reduce imports and produce things we can make locally and consume locally thereby promoting solid import substitution.”
Emefiele said Nigeria had the potential to export at least 3.5m metric tonnes urea to different parts of the world. He said, “Nigeria needs between 1 to 1.5m metric tonnes Urea to meet local demand. So, we have potential to export at least 3 to 4m metrics tonnes Urea to different parts of the world. With this latest development, Nigeria now ranks among leading countries in Urea production in the world. This, for me is a story no one would have believed will happen in Nigeria.”
Emefiele said the commissioning of the petrochemical and refinery plant would kick off by the end of the first quarter of 2022. Speaking on behalf of the bankers, Group Managing Director of Access Bank Plc, Mr Herbert Wigwe, expressed joy for the support they gave to Dangote to create a world class manufacturing enterprise in Nigeria.
President, Dangote Group, Aliko Dangote, appreciated the Nigerian banks for believing in his dreams and supporting his initiatives. He said, “This Phase 1 of the project, which is estimated to cost $2.5bn, is to manufacture 3mmtpa of urea per annum. This capacity will later be expanded to produce multi grades of fertilisers to meet soil, crop and climate specific requirements for the African continent.”
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