By Solomon Asowata
The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Governor, Mr Godwin Emefiele, says arrangement is being made to enable the Dangote Refinery sell refined crude to Nigeria in naira when it commences production.
Emefiele also disclosed that the first shipment of Urea from the Dangote Fertiliser Plant would begin in March to help boost agriculture in the country.
Emefiele made the disclosure on Saturday during an inspection tour of the sites of Dangote Refinery, Petrochemicals Complex Fertiliser Plant and Subsea Gas Pipeline projects at Ibeju Lekki, Lagos.
The CBN governor noted that the 15 billion dollar projects being constructed by the Dangote Group would save Nigeria from expending about 41 per cent of its foreign exchange on importation of petroleum products.
Emefiele said: ”Based on agreement and discussions with the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation and the oil companies, the Dangote Refinery can buy its crude in naira, refine it, and produce it for Nigerians’ use in naira.
“That is the element where foreign exchange is saved for the country becomes very clear.
“We are also very optimistic that by refining this product here in Nigeria, all those costs associated with either demurrage from import, costs associated with freight will be totally eliminated.
“This will make the price of our petroleum products cheaper in naira.
“If we are lucky that what the refinery produces is more than we need locally you will see Nigerian businessmen buying small vessels to take them to our West African neighbours to sell to them in naira.
“This will increase our volume in naira and help to push it into the Economic Community of West African States as a currency,” Emefiele said.
Emefiele expressed optimism that the refinery would be completed by the first quarter of 2022, adding that this would put an end to the issue of petrol subsidy in the country.
“I am saying that by this time next year, our cost of import of petroleum products for petrochemicals or fertiliser will be able to save that which will save Nigeria’s reserve.
“It will help us so that we can begin to focus on more important items that we cannot produce in Nigeria today,” Emefiele said.
He said the CBN had given a N100 billion intervention to the projects, adding that the apex bank was ready to support Nigerian businesses set up to uplift the country economically.
Also speaking, Alhaji Aliko Dangote said that the fertiliser and petrochemicals plants were capable of generating 2.5 billion dollars annually while the refinery would serve Nigeria and other countries across the world.
He said the projects would create jobs for Nigerians and build their capacity in critical areas of the oil and gas industry.
Dangote thanked President Muhammadu Buhari and the CBN governor for their support toward the completion of the projects.
He said: “I will like to thank the president personally for helping us and assisting us in making sure that we are now back on track.
“Mr President personally wrote a letter to the president of China and asked them to bring the expatriates that we don’t have so that we can continue work.
“During the coronavirus, you will remember that we had one or two cases when it started and everybody ran away from site but right now we are beginning to bring people back and we have about 30,000 people now.
“The good part of it is that we have learnt a lot also and there are a lot of Nigerians that just need small training and they are doing extremely well.
”So now we only need a small number of people coming from abroad just to give that training.”
Dangote also called for the speedy passage of the Petroleum Industry Bill currently before the National Assembly to maximise the opportunities in the Nigerian oil and gas sector. (NAN)