On Monday, President Muhammadu Buhari inaugurated Nigeria’s first indigenous refinery, the $18.5 billion Dangote Petroleum Refinery in Ibeju-Lekki, Lagos.
According to President Buhari, the modern refinery will enable the country to achieve self-sufficiency in refined products and even export surpluses.
The president described the achievement as a significant milestone for Nigeria’s economy and a game changer for the downstream petroleum products market in the entire African region, speaking at the event attended by Heads of State from Ghana, Togo, Niger, Senegal, and a representative of the President of Chad.
“This mega industry we are commissioning today is a clear example of what can be achieved when entrepreneurs are encouraged and supported, and when an enabling environment for investments and business growth is created,” he says.
“I am confident that my successor, His Excellency Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, will maintain and strengthen the framework of our public-private partnership policies in order to accelerate the pace of our economic growth and development.”
“I am pleased to leave our economy in the capable hands of others.”
The president praised Alhaji Aliko Dangote’s leadership in completing the 650,000 barrels per day refinery and urged other business leaders to follow in his footsteps in driving economic growth and realizing Nigeria’s economic potential.
He emphasized the importance of African countries banding together, integrating their economies, eliminating trade barriers, and rallying their people to achieve Agenda 2063 for the continent’s prosperity.
“I urge and encourage our other great entrepreneurs to follow in the footsteps of this iconic Nigerian industrialist and join the government in accelerating our growth in order to realize our country’s globally recognized economic potential,” he says.
“When I travel around Africa and meet and engage my brother Heads of State (and I am delighted that some of their Excellencies are here), I often sense a quiet expectation that our country is endowed with the resources and human capacity to lead Africa’s rise to economic prosperity and the achievement of Agenda 2063 – ‘The Africa we all want.'”
“However, in order to achieve the goals of Agenda 2063, Africa must come together – we must integrate our economies, eliminate trade barriers, and energize our young population in order to scale up our productive capacity.”
“In order to accelerate economic growth across the continent, we must create the necessary conditions for our private sector to grow and collaborate with the public sector.”
“We must not allow outside powers to use some of our leaders to destabilize our economic and political trajectory.”
President Buhari praised the Dangote Group, led by Dangote, for its visionary investments in transforming Nigeria’s economy through its involvement in critical industries such as cement and fertilizer.
He noted that investment in these sectors has been critical in transforming Nigeria from a net importer to a net exporter.
Nigeria’s economy has faced significant challenges over the years, including infrastructure deficits, insurgency, and external crises such as the global financial crisis, oil price collapses, the COVID-19 pandemic, and the Russia-Ukraine war.
“As a result of these challenges, our economy is under severe strain, limiting the government’s ability to provide basic infrastructure without incurring massive debt.”
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“As a result, our government decided to concentrate its efforts on creating an enabling environment for the private sector to thrive and fill the enormous gap in investments not only in infrastructure but also in all critical sectors.”
“We recognize that without the active participation of the private sector and a strong commitment to public-private partnerships, our economy will remain severely challenged and economic growth will be hampered.”
“As a result,” he said, “the government will and should continue to provide an enabling environment and encourage innovative public-private partnerships in all sectors of our economy.”
President Buhari emphasized his administration’s commitment to this approach, citing Executive Order 007 of 2019, which facilitated private sector investors’ rehabilitation/construction of many roads through a tax-credit scheme.
According to him, “it is my hope that the succeeding administration will continue to apply such innovative schemes in partnership with the private sector to accelerate the provision of critical infrastructure, particularly roads, power, and gas pipelines.”
Dangote had earlier in his speech emphasized the refinery’s role in achieving the group’s corporate vision of promoting self-sufficiency and global competitiveness.
“We built the world’s largest refinery, capable of processing 650,000 barrels per day (plus 900,000 tonnes of polypropylene) in a single train,” he said. We have chosen the best plants, equipment, and technologies from around the world.
“Our product slate is designed to meet the highest quality standards and high-value products such as Premium Motor Spirit (PMS), Automotive Gas Oil (Diesel), and Aviation Turbine Kerosine (ATK); all of which meet Euro V Standards, allowing us to not only meet our country’s demand but also become a key player in the African and global markets.”
“Our coastal location and offshore loading and offloading (SPM) facilities, which can receive all of our crude oil supplies and evacuate up to 75% of our liquid products, provide us with direct export access to the rest of Africa and the global market.” Furthermore, trucks can discharge 80 percent of our production nationwide.”
He revealed that the massive investment of over $18.5 billion in this industry was motivated by the company’s desire to support and contribute its quota to the federal government’s ongoing effort to transform the economy and reposition Nigeria as the leading nation in Africa and a respected member among the world’s emerging economies.
He stated that the refinery will provide essential raw materials to a wide range of manufacturing sectors, including plastics, pharmaceuticals, food and beverages, packaging, construction, and more, in addition to ensuring a consistent supply of high-quality fuels for the transportation sector.
He also emphasized that the refinery’s operation and related businesses would create a significant number of job opportunities, while downstream supply and distribution of its products would significantly contribute to labor absorption, potentially benefiting hundreds of thousands of people.
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“Once our plant is fully operational, we expect at least 40% of its capacity to be available for export, resulting in significant foreign exchange inflows into the country.”
“Overall, we are committed to operating our plant in accordance with international best practices, recognizing the importance of environmental protection, and implementing stringent environmental, health, and safety policies to ensure that the refinery operates in a safe and sustainable manner,” Dangote added.