The Minister for Finance, Budget and National Planning, Mrs Zainab Ahmed, said on Sunday that the refinery being built by Dangote refinery in Lagos would help the country save $10 billion foreign exchange when completed.
Ahmed, who stated this during a visit to the site of the Dangote refinery, petrochemicals and fertiliser projects at Ibeju Lekki, Lagos, commended the company’s continued investment in the country.
The minister said the refinery, when completed, would enable the country to stop importing petroleum products, adding, “And for us in government, that is a saving of at least $10bn that will be sitting in our reserves instead of flying out to pay for petroleum products.”
She said, “In the Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning, we have had the opportunity to interface with your company (Dangote Group) at different times to provide you with some clearance you required as you bring in equipment and as you move from one step to another, and I used to be alarmed at some of the size of the requests. But now, I do understand that this is very big and it is very important for this country.”
The President, Dangote Group, Aliko Dangote, said the group’s revenue would increase from $4bn to $30bn after the completion of the projects in 2021, adding that it aimed to become one of the major suppliers of foreign exchange in Nigeria.
“We have the refinery, petrochemicals and fertiliser plants coming on stream; we have over a million tonnes of rice; we have about 600,000 tonnes of locally made sugar, and our cement business would have grown further – we are finishing by the end of this year or the beginning of January next year our eight-million export facility. What we are trying to do is to totally turn around the company,” he added.
The Executive Director, Strategy, Capital Projects and Portfolio Development, Dangote Group, Mr Devakumar Edwin, said the 650,000-barrels-per-day refinery could meet 100 per cent of the Nigerian requirement of all liquid petroleum products and would have surplus for export.
The company had announced early this month the arrival from China of the crude distillation column, a piece of key equipment that would process crude oil in the refinery. It said it took 14 months for the crude oil processor to be constructed by Sinopec in China and eight weeks to bring it to Nigeria.
It said the $12bn refinery, when completed, would be able to handle all the Nigerian crude grades and all the African crude grades, as well as some of the Middle East grades and the US light oil.
Dangote Group said in February this year that it had so far awarded $368m worth of contracts to 120 local contractors for its refinery and petrochemical project as part of its contribution to the Nigerian content development initiative.