The commissioning of the Dangote Refinery and Petrochemicals by President Muhammadu Buhari and leaders from Ghana, Togo, Senegal, Niger, and Chad is a significant turning point for Nigeria’s oil and gas sector.
The presidents of Ghana, Togo, the Niger Republic, and Senegal, and a representative of the president of Chad were among the dignitaries present at the event. Bola Tinubu’s vice president-elect, Kashim Shetima, also attended, as did Senate President Ahmed Lawan and House of Representatives Deputy Speaker Ibrahim Wase.
Aminu Tambuwal of Sokoto, Dapo Abiodun of Ogun, Umar Ganduje of Kano, Babagana Zulum of Bornu, Nasir el-Rufai of Kaduna, and Abdullahi Sule of Nasarawa are state governors who attended the commissioning.
Also present were James Ibori, the governor of Delta State, the immediate past governor of Ekiti State, Kayode Fayemi, the former governor of Cross River State, Donald Duke. The Labour Party’s presidential candidate for the 2023 elections, Peter Obi, the newly elected governor of Enugu State, Peter Mba, and
Dangote Refinery, A Revolutionary Phenomenon
President Buhari speaking at the event, which occurred on Monday, praised Alhaji Dangote’s leadership in putting the plant into action and urged other businesspeople to follow in his footsteps to spur economic growth and realise Nigeria’s economic potential.
He emphasised the necessity for African nations to cooperate, integrate their economies, remove trade barriers, and mobilise their populations in order to realise Agenda 2063 for the prosperity of the continent.
The President said, ““I urge and encourage our other great entrepreneurs to emulate this iconic Nigerian industrialist and join the government in accelerating our growth in order to realise our country’s globally recognised economic potential.
“When I travel around Africa and meet and engage my brother Heads of State (and I am delighted some of the Excellencies are here) I often sense a quiet expectation that our country is blessed with resources and human capacity to lead Africa’s rise to economic prosperity and the attainment of Agenda 2063 – ‘The Africa We All Want.’
“But to achieve the goals of Agenda 2063, Africa must come together, we must integrate our economies, eliminate barriers to trade, and energise our youthful population to scale up our production capacity.
“We must create the necessary conditions for our private sector to grow and partner with the public sector to accelerate economic growth across the continent. We must not allow outside powers to use some of our leaders to destabilise our economic and political trajectory.”
The innovative investments made by the Dangote Group, led by Alhaji Dangote, in reshaping the Nigerian economy through its involvement in vital sectors like cement and fertiliser were recognised by President Buhari.
He pointed out that investment in these industries had been vital in helping Nigeria transition from being heavily dependent on imports to becoming a net exporter.
However, he admitted that the economy of Nigeria had seen many difficulties over the years, including infrastructure shortfalls, militancy, and foreign crises like the 2008 financial crisis, drops in oil prices, the COVID-19 epidemic, and the Russia-Ukraine war.
“The consequence of these challenges constitutes a severe strain on our economy, limiting the government’s ability to provide basic infrastructure without resorting to huge borrowings.
“Our government, therefore, took the decision to focus attention on creating an enabling environment for the private sector to thrive and fill the enormous gap in investments not only in infrastructure but also in all critical sectors.
“We recognise that without the active participation of the private sector and a strong commitment to a public-private partnership, our economy would continue to remain severely challenged and our economic growth impeded,’’ Buhari said.
In their individual goodwill letters, the presidents of Ghana, Senegal, Niger, the Benin Republic, and Chad expressed their happiness that the Dangote Refinery would benefit the West African area.
They continued by stating that the Dangote Refinery is an African firm run by an African entrepreneur, from which their respective nations would benefit.
Dangote Refinery to Turn The Face of The Economy – Emefiele
Godwin Emefiele, the governor of Nigeria’s Central Bank, said the start-up of the Dangote Refinery and Petrochemical Facilities will bring several economic benefits to Nigeria.
Speaking at the event, he said, “Your Excellencies, we have it on good authority that the Dangote Group has paid down some portion of the commercial loans, even before the commissioning of this facility. As of today, the total outstanding stands at $2.7 billion.
‘’This reflects the astute creditworthiness and commercial capability of the Group and its Chairman, Alhaji Aliko Dangote. Your Excellencies, please permit me at this juncture to appreciate all the participating local Nigerian banks, who did not only partner with the project through effective financing but were keenly aware of the importance of the project to our nation.
“They provided immense support and exceptional understanding, even when interest payments and principal repayment had fallen due. Mr. President, I must thank you for your astute vision to ensure that Nigeria produces what we consume and that we consume what we produce.
“This refinery and petrochemical project is a testament to your vision for Nigeria. It shows that, regardless of what the world thinks, Nigeria can be self-sufficient in all products that we consume and at the same time export our excess output to the rest of the world. Please permit me to recall the events leading to Nigeria’s eviction from the JP Morgan index in 2017, following their pessimism on Nigeria’s economic outlook and our ability to take charge of our fortunes.
“At that time, we had explained the ongoing efforts to diversify our economic base, through import substitution and export promotion strategies, to sustainably attain self-sufficiency. They were very sceptical, saying Nigeria typically crafts brilliant policies that could engender diversification but lacks the ability to fully implement them.
“Even when we insisted that, under the leadership of President Muhammadu Buhari, ongoing efforts will be actively implemented to diversify the economy and make the country globally competitive, they still doubted us.
“Aside from enumerating our strategic efforts in agriculture and other critical sectors, a sterling project that we highlighted to our foreign investor community was this gigantic Dangote Refinery and Petrochemical project.
‘’Your Excellencies, they doubted our willpower to succeed with this project. In hindsight, I could appreciate their scepticism because they do not understand how a single individual could build a refinery capable of serving an entire nation and continent.
‘’To them, projects of this magnitude are usually only undertaken by sovereigns, not individuals. But like Nelson Mandela once famously said, “It always seems impossible until it is done.”
“Today, it is with extreme delight that I say that President Mandela’s quote has come true for us. The impossible has today become possible. I am glad that we never doubted ourselves.
“This refinery will have an enormous impact on job creation by generating thousands of direct jobs and millions of indirect jobs, with over 135,000 permanent jobs.
‘’I understand that so far, there are nearly 4,000 Nigerian personnel on site, excluding employment by the various contractors and sub-contractors at the project site.
“I am also proud to state that the project will generate up to 12,000 megawatts, MW of electricity. In addition, the refinery and the other ancillary projects will have significant multiplier effects on other sectors of the economy by supporting a diverse range of sectoral value chains.
“For instance, the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry noted that the project could spur ‘further growth and development across its value-chain, including cosmetics, plastics, and textiles, while strengthening value addition in agribusiness, including the sugar backward integration projects that plan to create a strong localised supply in the sugar industry, benefiting local suppliers across the sugar value-chain.
‘’More importantly, this project avails Nigeria with significant savings both in terms of foreign exchange and in easing the financial burden on the Federal Government.
“Available data at the Central Bank of Nigeria as of 2014, shows that at least 30 per cent of the foreign exchange required to meet Nigeria’s import needs went into the importation of refined petroleum products.
“At this rate, the average annual cost of petroleum products imports to Nigeria could reach US$30 billion by 2027 if we continued to rely on petroleum imports.
‘’These figures suggest that the refinery could engender foreign exchange savings to the country, of between US$25 billion and US$30 billion.’’
A Strategic Investment From The Start – Kyari
The refinery presented prospects for efficiency and good competition, according to Mele Kyari, the group chief executive officer of Nigeria National Petroleum Company Limited, or NNPCL.
The Dangote Refinery, which he described as a new agreement that will undoubtedly give local security in the industry, is what he used to argue that NNPC will continue to encourage production in the sector rather than importation. Additionally, he said that the NNPC investment in the Dangote Refinery is sound and vital in order to guarantee a consistent supply of petroleum products in Nigeria.
In a similar vein, Dangote received praise for locating the refinery in Lagos from Lagos State Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu, who also noted that “the initiative creates a great opportunity for Nigerian youngsters.”
He said: “In Lagos, we will continue to provide opportunities to investors. Other investors should emulate Dangote. We need to replicate the likes of Dangote in Nigeria.”
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