The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Governor, Mr Godwin Emefiele has said that the 15 billion dollar projects Dangote Refinery being constructed would save Nigeria from expending about 41 per cent of its foreign exchange on importation of petroleum products.
Emefiele who disclosed this on Saturday during an inspection tour of the sites of Dangote Refinery, Petrochemicals Complex Fertiliser Plant and Subsea Gas Pipeline projects at Ibeju Lekki, Lagos that arrangement is being made to enable the Dangote Refinery sell refined crude to Nigeria in naira when it commences production.
The Governor said that the first shipment of Urea from the Dangote Fertiliser Plant would begin in March to help boost agriculture in the country..
“Based on agreement and discussions with the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation and the oil companies, the Dangote Refinery can buy its crude in naira, refine it, and produce it for Nigerians’ use in naira.
“That is the element where foreign exchange is saved for the country becomes very clear.
“We are also very optimistic that by refining this product here in Nigeria, all those costs associated with either demurrage from import, costs associated with freight will be totally eliminated.
“This will make the price of our petroleum products cheaper in naira.
“If we are lucky that what the refinery produces is more than we need locally you will see Nigerian businessmen buying small vessels to take them to our West African neighbours to sell to them in naira.
“This will increase our volume in naira and help to push it into the Economic Community of West African States as a currency.”
He assured that the refinery would be completed by the first quarter of 2022, which will bring to end the issue of petrol subsidy.
“I am saying that by this time next year, our cost of import of petroleum products for petrochemicals or fertiliser will be able to save that which will save Nigeria’s reserve.
“It will help us so that we can begin to focus on more important items that we cannot produce in Nigeria today,” Emefiele said.
Also speaking, Alhaji Aliko Dangote said that the fertiliser and petrochemicals plants were capable of generating 2.5 billion dollars annually while the refinery would serve Nigeria and other countries across the world.
He said the projects would create jobs for Nigerians and build their capacity in critical areas of the oil and gas industry.
“Mr President personally wrote a letter to the president of China and asked them to bring the expatriates that we don’t have so that we can continue work.
Dangote also called for the speedy passage of the Petroleum Industry Bill currently before the National Assembly to maximise the opportunities in the Nigerian oil and gas sector.