CENTRAL Bank of Nigeria (CBN) governor Godwin Emefiele has revealed that the new Dangote Refinery due to begin production later this year will employ over 70,000 Nigerians when it is fully up and running.
In one of the most ambitious industrial plans ever launched in Nigeria, Alhaji Aliko Dangote, Africa’s richest man, is building a $20bn refinery in the Lekki area of Lagos State. Over the weekend, Mr Emefiele visited the facility and expressed delight that the Dangote Refinery and Petrochemical plant is expected to increase its workforce from the current 34,000 to over 70,000 when it becomes operational.
He said the various policies of the federal government will ultimately reduce unemployment in the country. Alhaji Dangote himself said he is on a mission to aggressively reduce the unemployment in the country, pointing out that the plant would also retain foreign exchange as Nigeria becomes self-sufficient in petroleum refining.
Alhaji Dangote said: “We are going to help in terms of not only creating jobs but also in reducing the outflow of foreign exchange, not only in petroleum products but also in petrochemicals and in fertilisers. We would be one of the highest foreign exchange generating companies, going forward.”
According to him, the company’s $2bn granulated urea fertiliser plant at Ibeju-Lekki in Lagos State will begin operations in May. Alhaji Dangote said the fertiliser plant would make Nigeria the only urea exporting country in sub-Saharan Africa and the biggest producer of polyethylene, which is capable of generating $2.5bn annually.
“Nigeria will soon become the biggest and only urea exporter in sub-Saharan Africa, for the first time and we would be exporting, big time. We are also going to have polyethylene, which is about 1.3m tonnes annually and these two products would bring in about $2.5bn annually in terms of foreign exchange,” Alhaji Dangote added.
He said a pre-testing of the fertiliser plant had begun, adding that the project would be the largest fertiliser plant in the world with its 3m tonnes per annum capacity. According to Alhaji Dangote, the refinery, which is at 48% completion, will make Nigeria the largest exporter of petroleum products in Africa.
Alhaji Dangote added: “It is a huge project, which is why we have built a jetty and the pipeline through which we are bringing in the crude. One of the reasons the CBN is supporting us is that by the time we become operational, we will not only be creating jobs but we will reduce the outflow of foreign exchange not only in petroleum products but in petrochemicals and fertilisers.
“We will be one of the highest foreign exchange generating companies, going forward. I must really confess that without the government’s support, there is no way we could have done what we have done so far.
“I think we must thank Mr President for his policies and I thank the CBN governor and management for bringing down interest rates to encourage more entrepreneurs to go into mega projects like this. We should not wait for foreign investors to come and develop our economy as it will never happen, we have to do it ourselves and the only way to do it is to take advantage of the low interest rates and the banks being forced to loan money out.”