The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has reiterated its readiness to facilitate access to foreign exchange by Nigerian companies that want to import equipment to ease business growth in the country.
The CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele, said this on Sunday during an inspection of Dangote Refinery in Lagos.
The refinery when it starts full operation would be refining 650,000 barrels of crude oil per day (bpd).
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the tour of the facility was held at its location within the Lekki Free Trade Zone in Lagos.
Mr Emefiele said that the projects on completion would also be expected to produce 883 KPTA polypropylene plant, three million tons per annum Urea plant and 1,100 kilometres sub-sea pipeline infrastructure.
He said it would transform the Nigerian economy from a net importer of refined petroleum products to a net- exporter of petroleum products.
The governor said that the support to indigenous companies by the CBN was to ease the importation of equipment needed in Nigeria for production.
He said he is extremely delighted with the huge investment and massive progress recorded here in Dangote Petrochemical and Fertilizer Refinery.
“This shows commitment and readiness for business.
“I have said it before that we will also support any Nigerian companies that take interest in construction and manufacturing of goods in Nigeria.
“CBN will provide funding in terms of foreign exchange and naira to import equipment that will fast track business activities.
“Dangote Group ‘s nine billion dollars investment is a reality of an indigenous company’s commitment that is interested in the socio-economic growth of Nigeria.
“This has made us to support Dangote Group with N75 billion in Forex to import equipment and other facilities to ease completion of the refinery,” he said.
The CBN boss said that “This is the kind of investment we need in Nigeria that will empower Nigerians and boost our revenue.
“I am happy that this project by Dangote Group came up in my lifetime. The federal government will continue to support the project and any other projects in the country.
“The ongoing nine-billion-dollar-refinery investment will enjoy our support, no doubt.
“We are doing this to fast-track other importation of equipment you will need for a speedy completion of that project and to encourage other Nigerians to follow your lead,” Emefiele said.
According to him, the tour is necessary to lend our support to this laudable project that will transform Nigeria’s downstream oil sector.
Mr Emefiele said that the CBN would continue to support tremendous and impactful projects that would improve the socio-economic profile of the country through such investments.
He said the diversification of the Dangote Group was worthy of emulation by other industrialists.
“By the time this refinery is completed, it will not only service the needs of our domestic economy but shore up our international oil investments.
“Projects like this and our support will encourage more Nigerians to begin to think like the Dangote Group,” he added
Mr Emefiele commended Aliko Dangote for his resilience and dedication to create wealth.
“It may interest you to know that we always expend one-third of our total foreign exchange obligation to import petroleum products.
“When the fertilizer plant will commence operation between April and May this year and the Refinery commences operation in April 2020, we will have a lot of savings from foreign exchange.
“In near future, we may be buying foreign exchange from the Dangote Group,” he said.
Mr Emefiele urged other private refinery licensees to develop the capacity to build more refineries.
“I have not seen any licensee approach the bank for credit to build refinery.
“Remember, such licensee will approach his bank which will in turn assess his capacity to build such refinery and such request will be forwarded to the CBN for approval.
“If they have the capacity, we will support them through their banks,” Mr Emefiele said.
In his remarks, Aliko Dangote commended the CBN for its support and for believing in the project.
He said that the largest single train refinery in the world, Dangote Refinery, would commence operations in April 2020.
Mr Dangote said that the construction of the refinery that would be producing 650,000 barrels of crude oil per day by the Dangote Group was expected to help Nigeria save over $7.5 billion through import substitution.
He said that it would also put the country on the global map as a major oil and gas hub in Africa.
He said that the Dangote Refinery, therefore, would help the government create a robust domestic refining sector.
Mr Dangote said that it would reduce the importation of petroleum products and save the country from capital flight.
“The refinery is going to save a huge amount of foreign exchange outflow because, today, forex is being used in the importation of petroleum products and our foreign reserves are being heavily depleted.
“And whatever little forex we are earning from the sale of crude oil, is being used to import petroleum products.
“Our petroleum refinery is going to have a major beneficial impact on the economy in terms of foreign exchange savings,” he said.
Mr Dangote said: “We will be adding value to our economy as all these projects are currently creating about 26,000 employment opportunities.
He said that when completed, it would create about 80,000 employment opportunities.
“We will also save over 7.5 billion dollars for Nigeria annually through import substitution.
“We will generate an additional $5.5 billion per annum through exports of the refined petroleum products, fertiliser and petrochemicals,” he said.
The Dangote Group boss said that the company had been championing a comprehensive overhaul of the energy sector in Nigeria, with a view to making it a self-reliant nation.
He attributed Dangote Group’s decision to invest massively in the refinery sect