Eleme, Port Harcourt — The management of Indorama Eleme Petrochemicals Limited said on Friday that it had concluded plans for the construction of Africa's largest fertiliser plant in Eleme, Rivers State.
The Managing Director of the company, Mr Manish Mundra, made this known when the National Good Governance Team visited the company in continuation of the tour of projects in the state.
He added that the plant, designed to produce 1.4 million tonnes of fertiliser annually, would start production by the fourth quarter of 2015.
He said that the plant, when concluded, would engage largely in the production of Urea, NPK and other types of fertiliser.
Mundra said that the project, which would cost the company about 1.20 billion dollars was part of the company's programme of making Nigeria the largest petrochemical hub in Africa by 2017.
He said that the fertiliser plant project would be handled by a Chinese company, Toyo Engineering Ltd and would get its feed stock from natural gas.
Mundra, who stated that the project would be funded through lending from a consortium of Nigerian and foreign banks, said the project had already been over-emphasised by 480 million dollars.
He put the lending requirement for the project at 800 million dollars and said that banks had already shown interest to invest in the project.
On the progress made by the company since privatisation, the MD said that the company had recorded steady growth and improvements in all its operations since its take-over.
He said that over 2.5 billion dollars of foreign exchange had been saved since 2007 while their cumulative investment amounted to about 575 million Naira.
Mundra added that the company had contributed immensely to the growth of the economy through the distribution of dividends to the shareholders of the company.
He said that the company had distributed 229 million dollars to the Federal government, 115 million dollars to Rivers State Government, 38 million dollars to six host communities and 13 million dollars to staff of the company.
The MD said that the company had also remitted taxes to the tune of 168 million dollars to the Federal Inland Revenue Service, Rivers State Inland Revenue Service and the Local Revenue Service.
He said that the expansion plan also included the establishment of a 1.75 metric tonnes Methanol plant and the construction of an 84-kilometre pipeline linking the Onne port by 2017.
Mundra said that the cummulative direct job creation capacity of his company's investments would be about 6,000 people.
In his remark, Information Minister, Mr Labaran Maku commended the company's impressive performance and contributions to the economy between 2007 and 2012.
Maku said that the development was unarguably one of the best examples of Nigeria's privatisation programme.
He said that the company's expansion programme was commendable and an example for other investors who were partnering with government in the management of its assets.
"We should not be importing fertiliser into this country; we should also not be importing petrochemicals.
"So many of the businesses run by government, which have been privatised, are really not doing well but this company is the leading example of how public private partnership can work well if properly managed," he said.
The minister said that the development would further encourage government and other stakeholders not to relent in the privatisation programme.
The team inspected the port extension project and the oil free trade zone, all in Onne, Rivers State.
The team also paid scheduled visits to the model secondary school in Eleme, a skill acquisition centre in Port Harcourt and inspected on-going construction of the 4-lane 42-kilometre airport road in Port Harcourt.