Lagos — ... Refinery starts Q1, 2020 as CBN intervenes with N125bn
The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) said at the weekend that it has supported Dangote's $11 billion Refinery and Petrochemical plant with N125 billion as at the end of 2018 as it announced the start-up of the three million tons capacity fertiliser plant in April this year.
Speaking at the end of a four-hour tour of the 650,000 barrels per day capacity refinery located in Lagos, CBN Governor Godwin Emefiele said the bank had supported the refinery which is expected to come on-stream in the first quarter of 2020 with N75 billion and the fertilizer plant with N50 billion as part of the Federal Government's efforts in diversifying the nation's economy.
The project is being funded by about 60 per cent of Dangote's equity and 40 per cent by both local and foreign banks and CBN chipped in N75 billion for the refinery and N50 billion for the fertilizer plants.
"This is a $9 billion project that is been funded not only by Nigerian banks but also foreign banks, the CBN itself is contributing almost close to about N75 billion in supporting the refinery project and N50 billion for the fertilizer project which is just a drop on the entire fund that the project is costing but we will continue to show support to individuals and companies that display the determination to help and support government and the CBN in restructuring the base of this country," he said.
He said though Nigeria is currently almost self-sufficient in fertilizer production, the size of the fertilizer plant here is twice that of Eleme petrochemical, stressing that by the time the refinery takes off around the end of the first quarter of 2020, just one year ahead, Nigeria will not only be self-sufficient in the production of refined petroleum products but also join the league of countries that export petroleum products. Emefiele noted that by time the two projects commence operations, CBN will be begging Dangote to sell foreign exchange to it.
While appreciating CBN's moral and financial support to the refinery, President, Dangote Industries, Alhaji Aliko Dangote, said what the organisation needed is the moral support and encouragement the bank has given to ensure that it continues with its transformative projects.
He urged other Nigerians to support government's drive in developing the nation's economy.
"I believe this project will transform Nigeria's economy and we hope and pray that we will have other Nigerians join in the development of our own economy. It is not about word of mouth, it is by action. They need to risk their capital and do what they believe that will help and I think in a lot of areas, with the support of the government, we will try and transform them like we did in cement.
"But for what we did in cement, today Nigeria won't be able to even import cement. It is not even about importation, it is about the logistics and we don't have the capacity to import into the country", he stated
Currently more than 26,000 people are working at the construction level while on completion, about 80,000 people would be fully engaged while almost 50,000 others will be living in the complex, Dangote, stated.