The Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Mrs. Zainab Ahmed, has stated that the 650, 000 per day Dangote Refinery and Petrochemical Plant currently under construction at the Lekki Free Trade Zone, in Lagos State, will strengthen Nigeria's Macro-economic environment.
This is coming as the President of Dangote Group, Alhaji Aliko Dangote, has disclosed that the group was working towards hitting $30 billion revenue base year-on-year when all its ongoing projects come on stream.
The minister also said that the $12 billion project, which is already creating employment for many Nigerians, would enable the country earn or save foreign exchange to the tune of at least $10 billion when it begins operation.
Ahmed said this yesterday during her inspection tour of the facility in company of her aides, adding that the refinery was the first of its kind.
"When this is completed we will not be importing refined petroleum products, we will just be buying from down town in Epe and Lekki, and then be looking at the logistics of how to distribute it across the country, hopefully, either by rail as well as by sea.
"And for us in government, that is a savings of at least $10 billion that will be sitting in our reserves instead of flying out to pay for PMS; that will strengthen our macro-economic environment, which in turn will encourage more investors to come in and do investments like the one Alhaji is doing," she said.
According to Ahmed, "This is a very important project. This is a project that is one of its kind; one of the largest refineries in the world today. It also co-located with petrochemical plant, fertiliser plant as well as a gas plant. Mr. President is very proud of this project and we also speak about it everywhere we go. We can see the number of jobs, which it is creating and also the good that it will be bringing to our economy."
The minister, however, urged Dangote group to do more in the area of corporate social responsibilities so that members of the host communities will feel happy and join hands to secure the facility.
According to her, "Your security men will not be enough; you need the people that are around you, that are secure in the sense that you have provided them with schools and hospitals, educating their children. That is unquantifiable; they will be the ones that will guard your installations even with their lives.
Meanwhile, Dangote said the group's plan to ramp up its revenue base to $30 billion year-on-on-year, would be actualised when all the projects under construction begin operation by 2021.
He said: "What we are doing is actually building the real capacity and also the foundation of the group from just $4 billion of revenue, now, by the time we finish in 2021, we will be having $30 billion of revenue.
"You know, because we have the refinery coming on stream; we have the petrochemical coming on stream; we have the fertiliser, we have over a million tonnes of rice, we have also about 600,000 tonnes of locally made sugar, and our cement, we are finishing by end of this year, beginning of January next year -eight million export facility of our cement to other African countries to generate foreign exchange.
"So, what we are actually trying to do is to totally turn around the company. Now, rather than going to central bank to request for dollars, we want to be one of the major suppliers of foreign exchange in this domestic market."
Dangote also stated that the group was addressing infrastructural challenges associated with such huge projects, especially power generation.
He said: "I think, in terms of infrastructure, we already have our own infrastructure. As you can see, here, we have 555 megawatts of power. By the time we have finished group-wide, we are going to have almost 2,000 megawatts of power off and on. But I think power is not only government's responsibility.