- I visited Dangote Refinery severally for reassurance on the project – Emefiele
The Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Mr. Godwin Emefiele has projected that the operations at the Dangote Refinery will save the nation over $30billion annually from 2027.
Emefiele, who was speaking during the commissioning of Dangote refinery by President Muhammadu Buhari in Lagos yesterday, noted that since 2014 over 30 percent of Nigeria’s forex expenditure annually goes into importation of petroleum products and fertilizers.
While observing that he had reservations about the Dangote Refinery on numerous occasions after listening to some dissenting views by friends, local and international finance experts, he expressed delight at the realization of the project estimated to guarantee $10billion forex via export inflow to further enhance forex stability in the country.
According to him, it is appalling that the nation spends between $25billion to $30billion forex importing petroleum products and fertilizers that will be available at the refinery.
“Nigeria will cease importing petroleum products and fertilizers that drained over $20billion in 2022 alone. This project is equally another opportunity to boost exports and it will provide over 135 permanent jobs and generate over 12,000watts of electricity,” he said.
The CBN Governor also thanked Nigerian commercial banks for their patience when their interests on Dangote’s loan was almost overdue, but he stated that Dangote Group has paid over 50 percent of its debt to the Primary Lending Institutions (PLIs).
According to him, Dangote Group had borrowed over $9billion to finance the $18billion refinery but has been able to pay $6.3billion while it still owes $2.7billion. However, he disclosed that the apex bank supported the Dangote Petrochemicals Refinery by providing about N125billion to cover domestic currency requirements for the project.
“Today, our history is being rewritten, and Nigeria’s trajectory for greater growth and prosperity is enhanced as President Muhammadu Buhari inaugurated the 650,000 barrels-per-day (BPD), Dangote Petroleum Refinery and Petrochemical complex in Ibeju-Lekki, Lagos,” he remarked.
Speaking at the commissioning, President Muhammadu Buhari, stressed that the nation must continue to create an ideal environment for private sector investments as well as Public-Private Partnerships (PPP) to thrive.
Buhari noted that the presence of Presidents of Ghana, Togo, Niger and Senegal at the commissioning was a clear testament to the significance of the refinery project for the West and Central African sub-region.
He, however, charged the incoming presidential administration to build on the economic development being attained in the nation, adding that he feels confident handing over the nation’s economy to a competent personality in the President-elect, Bola Tinubu.
Also speaking, Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu identified three eminent personalities for praise in the attainment and sustainability of the project – President Muhammadu Buhari; Chairman, Dangote Group, Alhaji Aliko Dangote; and the Nigerian President-elect, Bola Tinubu.
While he commended the outgoing President and the Dangote Group for the vision and tenacity geared towards the realization of the project, he posited that his biggest joy is that it shows leadership commitment to a better future for Nigerian youths.
“This project is really not for Dangote or President Buhari. It is for the Nigerian youths and it is a delight that hundreds of thousands of them will have jobs and legitimate means of livelihood from this massive project,” Sanwo-Olu said.
Meanwhile, Nigeria’s President-elect, Bola Tinubu, who was represented by his vice, Kashim Shettima thanked Dangote Group, the presidency and all partners who contributed to the attainment of the project he labeled ‘a proud development’.
He also told the international community, especially leading global media conglomerates that Africa isn’t all about the crisis in Sudan, nor is the continent only about poverty, banditry and kidnappings; but Africa is also about significant attainments like the Dangote refinery.