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Buhari Inaugurates Dangote Petroleum Refinery, Petrochemical Plant

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…Emefiele Says Refinery Epitomizes Nigerian Can-Do Spirit.

…Dangote hails Emefiele’s Courage, Support.

A week to the end of his eight-year tenure, President Muhammadu Buhari, on Monday, May 22, 2023, formally inaugurated the 650,000 barrels-per-day (BPD) Dangote Petroleum Refinery and Petrochemical complex in Ibeju-Lekki, Lagos, with a charge to the in-coming administration to sustain the efforts made by his administration in supporting infrastructural development.

In his keynote address, an elated President Buhari said the Dangote refinery underscored the resilience of Alhaji Aliko Dangote, adding that the plant would advance Nigeria’s drive towards self-sufficiency in food production, among other national objectives.

According to him, the Dangote refinery, which is adjudged the largest refinery in Africa, along with the fertilizer plant, would assist Nigerians in their pursuit of agriculture as a real business and contribute to the stabilisation of the country’s oil sector.

In his goodwill message, the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Mr. Godwin Emefiele, lauded President Muhammadu Buhari for what he described as his unrivalled leadership, vision, and support in ensuring that the refinery project, which exemplifies his effort towards building a more productive economy, was completed during his tenure as President. He also commended Alhaji Aliko Dangote and the Dangote Group for their tenacity and unwavering commitment to completing the mega project, notwithstanding various challenges and constraints that they encountered along the way.

Mr. Emefiele, who recalled that the project, at conception, was estimated to cost about US$9 billion, of which US$3 billion was projected as an equity investment by the Dangote Group and the balance financed through commercial loans, praised the role of Nigerian commercial banks for providing loans to the Dangote Group to finance the project. He particularly expressed appreciation to all the participating local Nigerian banks, which provided immense support and exceptional understanding, even when interest payments and principal repayment had fallen due.

“I am proud to state that the commercial loan component of the project was financed majorly by our domestic banks, with the balance sourced from foreign banks.,” the CBN Governor declared, adding that the Central Bank of Nigeria also partnered with the Dangote Group in ensuring the successful completion of the project by providing about N125 billion, to cover domestic currency requirements for the venture.

Furthermore, he disclosed that the Dangote Group had started repaying some of the commercial loans before the inauguration of the facility, even as he disclosed that the outstanding debt of Dangote Group, following extensive repayments, had dropped from over US$9 billion to US$2.7 billion.

Given the processing capacity of 650,000 barrels-per-day (BPD), the CBN Governor said the refinery was more than able to meet all of Nigeria’s domestic fuel consumption, which is about 450,000 barrels per day, while the excess production will be available for export.

According to him, the refinery is designed to process not only the Bonny Light grade of crude oil, but also process a wide variety of other crude streams, including many from Africa, some Middle Eastern streams, and the US Light Tight oil. He also said the Dangote refinery is equally capable of delivering all types of liquid products, including gasoline, diesel, kerosene, and aviation jet fuel.

Continuing, Emefiele projected that the Dangote refinery could earn Nigeria foreign exchange savings, of between US$25 billion and US$30 billion annually, stressing that the impact of the savings would be directly reflected in Nigeria’s foreign exchange reserves by reducing the pressure on the country’s balance of payments.

While describing the Dangote Refinery and Petrochemical Factory as a blessing to Nigeria and Africa as a whole, with favourable spillovers expected to spread from Nigeria to other West African countries and eventually to all countries of the African continent, he said the recent endeavours of Alhaji Aliko Dangote confirmed that Africans have the capacity to drive the continent’s economic integration, growth, and development, rather than depend almost entirely on foreign investors.

Mr. Emefiele further stated that the Central Bank of Nigeria, through its various development finance interventions, would continue to support critical sectors of the Nigerian economy to promote a homegrown rebalancing of the Nigerian economy and fostering self-sufficiency.

In his remarks, the Chairman, Dangote Group, Alhaji Aliko Dangote disclosed that the first product from the refinery will be available by August 2023. He thanked President Muhammadu Buhari and successive Governors of Lagos State for supporting the project to come into existence. Alhaji Dangote specially commended the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Mr. Godwin Emefiele, whom he said “moved mountains” to ensure the success of the project.

Also speaking the Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Mele Kolo Kyari, said the inauguration of the plant provided the potential for domestic security in the country.

In their various goodwill remarks, the President of the Republic of Ghana, Nana Akufo-Adoo, the President of Niger Republic, Mohammed Bazoum; and the President of Senegal, Macky Sall; the Vice President-elect, Kashim Shettima; and the Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, all commended the project in superlative terms.

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