The CBN governor says the first shipment of Urea from the Dangote Fertiliser Plant would begin in March to help boost agricultural practice in the country.
Godwin Emefiele, governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), has said that the Dangote Refinery would sell refined petroleum products in Naira when it commences production.
According to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), Mr Emefiele said this 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 said that the first shipment of Urea from the Dangote Fertiliser Plant would begin in March to help boost agricultural practice in the country.
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.
“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,” Mr Emefiele said.
“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.’
The apex bank governor explained that this will make the price of Nigeria’s 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,” Mr Emefiele said.
“This will increase our volume in naira and help to push it into the Economic Community of West African States as a currency,” Mr Emefiele said.
Speaking on the refinery project, the CBN governor expressed optimism that it 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,” he said.
“It will help us so that we can begin to focus on more important items that we cannot produce in Nigeria today.”
The apex bank governor said the CBN had given a N100 billion intervention to the projects, adding that the bank was ready to support Nigerian businesses set up to uplift the country economically.
In his remarks, Chair of Dangote groups, 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.
Mr Dangote said the projects would create jobs for Nigerians and build their capacity in critical areas of the oil and gas industry.
He thanked President Muhammadu Buhari and the CBN governor for their support toward the completion of the projects.
“I will like to thank the president personally for helping us and assisting us in making sure that we are now back on track,” he said.
“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.”
The businessman 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.