The Federal Government will soon start sourcing foreign exchange (forex) from Dangote Group, as soon as the latter’s refinery, petrochemicals and fertilizer projects come on stream.
This potential reversal of roles was stated by Mr. Godwin Emefiele, governor of Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, after he spent over four hours touring the ongoing Dangote Refinery, Petrochemicals, Fertilizer projects and Dangote deep-water jetty in Lagos weekend.
Emefiele toured the project sites in the company of Aliko Dangote, the President/CE of the Dangote Group; Aishah Ahmad, Deputy Governor of the CBN; Mr. Olakunle Alake, Group Managing Director, Dangote Industries Limited; Mr. Devakumar Edwin, Group Executive Director of Dangote Industries; and the Mr. Segun Agbaje, Managing Director of Guaranty Trust Bank.
The CBN governor premised his comment on the huge forex earnings expected to accrue from export of the petrochemical and fertilizer products from Dangote refinery and fertilizer plants by the time the fertilizer plant begins operations in May this year, and the refinery in 2020.
Emefiele, who commended Aliko Dangote for the volume of work done on the projects since his last visit over two years ago, also enthused that the refinery and fertilizer projects would help Nigeria create thousands of Jobs and check importation of fuel by the federal government; thereby saving government huge forex currently being spent on fuel import.
He added that about 55 to 60 percent of Nigeria’s spending on foreign exchange for the importation of petroleum products and food items would be saved when the Dangote Refinery come on stream.
According to him, one third of Nigeria’s spending on forex will also be retained when the Dangote Refinery is completed.
He described the refinery as a transformational project for Nigeria, as it totally keys into the objectives of President Muhammadu Buhari on self-sufficiency in petroleum products, conservation of forex and diversification of the economy.
“I am sure by that time, the CBN will be begging Dangote to sell its dollars to the bank,” he said.
He noted that the completion of the refinery would make Nigeria self-sufficient in the production of refined products and also make the country to be among the league of exporters of petroleum products.
Emefiele declared the CBN’s support to any company or individuals ready to invest in the transformation of the Nigeria economy.
“We are ready to support in Naira and also ready to provide foreign exchange for any investor who is ready to support Nigeria’s transformational agenda.
“I use this opportunity to repeat that we are ready to support any individual like Aliko Dangote who is willing to invest in this country.
”We will continue to support companies that display the determination to support the CBN. I feel so delighted and I am happy this is happening in my own life-time and I am sure you are all so happy,” Emefiele added.
In his remarks, Aliko Dangote, President, Dangote Group, said the project would definitely transform the economy.
“We have a couple of projects at hand and we will continue with these transformative projects. The biggest problem we have in Nigeria is that we currently import more than we produce like any other African countries.
”But, by the time we finish our fertilizer plant, Nigeria will be the largest exporter of fertilizer in Africa. We will also be the largest exporter of petrochemicals and the largest exporter of petroleum products in the whole of Africa. This is a major transformation,” he said.
He said the three billion Standard Cubic Feet gas pipeline and other Dangote projects were geared towards Nigeria’s economic transformation.
Dangote commended CBN for its moral support to the refinery project, saying “there are a lot going on in Nigeria. We want the CBN to support us like what it did in cement sector, which made Nigeria not only self-sufficient in the production of cement, but also an exporter of the product.
”Today, Nigeria will not even import cement because we no longer have capacity for importation of cement.”