LAGOS, The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has assured that it will assist the Dangote Group, the biggest industrial conglomerate in Nigeria and West Africa to access the foreign exchange it needs to facilitate its 14 billion US dollar refinery project.
CBN Governor Godwin Emefiele said this Sunday during a tour of the refinery project which is projected to refine 650,000 barrels of crude oil per day. The facility is located within the Lekki Free Trade Zone here.
The governor said that the support would ease the importation of equipment needed to bring the Dangote refinery to reality. “Your ongoing 14 billion dollar 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 project will transform Nigeria’s downstream oil sector.
“The Dangote Group approached us to indicate their interest to invest in refining crude, such that petrolchemicals, fertilizer and fuel will be produced, about three years ago. Today, the three projects, which are valued at 14 billion dollars are on course and this is highly commendable.”
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.
Dangote Group Chairman Alhaji Aliko Dangote said the refinery was projected to begin commercial operations in early 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.
“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.”
The chairman said that the fertilizer production component of the refinery project would be completed by next year, “This project is generally about saving foreign exchange and earning more for our nation through the diversification of the economy,” he added.
“We started with local production of cement and today we export more than 12 million 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.”