By Nuel Suji – The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has assured the Dangote Group of access to foreign exchange to facilitate its $14 billion dollar refinery project in Lagos, Nigeria.
CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele, gave the assurance Sunday during a tour of the refinery facility, projected to refine 650,000 barrels of crude oil per day.
The tour of the facility held on Sunday at its location within the Lekki Free Trade Zone in Lagos.
The CBN governor said that the support was to ease the importation of equipment needed to bring the Dangote refinery to reality.
“Your ongoing $14 billion refinery investment will enjoy our support, no doubt.
“We are doing this to fast-track the importation of equipment you 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.
“The Dangote Group approached us to indicate their interest to invest in refining crude, such that petrol-chemicals, fertiliser and fuel will be produced, about three years ago.
“Today, the three projects, which are valued at 14 billion dollars (N2.8 trillion), are on course and this is highly commendable,” he said.
Emefiele said 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,’’ the CBN boss added. Alhaji Aliko Dangote, Chairman, Dangote Group, said that the refinery would commence commercial operations at the early period of 2018.
“We are set to unveil the world’s largest refinery which will make Nigeria self-sufficient in petroleum products refining and also become a major exporter of oil.
“This project will mark a turning point in Nigeria’s search for local refining of crude oil.
“We will ensure the value chain in crude oil production is uplifted and other facilitators properly integrated into our scheme,” he said.
The chairman said that the fertiliser production aspect of the refinery would be completed by 2017.
Dangote said: “This project is generally about saving foreign exchange and earning more for our nation through the diversification of the economy. “We started with local production of cement and today we export more than 12 tonnes of it.
“We don’t need dollars now to continue to produce Dangote Cement and that is the same thing we will do with this refinery.
“This refinery will have the capacity to serve this country optimally and it is part of our contribution in the vanguard to diversify our economy.”