By: Sunday Oyewole
Africa’s richest man and industrialist, Aliko Dangote is optimistic Nigeria will end fuel importation by the end of 2016.
This optimism is anchored on his plan to construct a mega petrochemical in Olokola, Ondo state which has now come to fruition with the signing of financing agreements with a consortium of banks on Wednesday in Abuja.
He spoke with State House correspondents after leading Chief Executives of participating banks including First Bank of Nigeria, UBA, Stanbic-IBTC, Zenith Bank, Access Bank, Ecobank, Fidelity Bank, Guaranty Trust Bank and Rand Merchant Bank to President Goodluck Jonathan.
According to him, with an investment of $9 billion in petrochemical, about 85, 000 general jobs and another 8,000 engineering jobs would be created.
Also in attendance at the meeting with the President were another business mogul, Femi Otedola, Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Olusegun Aganga and president of the Manufacturers’ Association of Nigeria, Kola Jamodu.
Dangote said funds have been mobilized by the Dangote Group to build Africa’s largest refinery, petro-chemicals and fertilizer manufacturing complex in Nigeria. He said a credit facility of $3.3 billion has been secured from the consortium of banks
His words, “Nigeria is going to be taken out of the list of countries that import petroleum products by 2016. We will produce 20 Million metric tons which is currently equivalent to what Nigeria consumes currently.
“Today, we did the signing ceremony, the Vice President came to witness the signing but we insisted in coming to thank Mr. President so much for his policies. Without good government policies, there is no way the private sector can invest in Nigeria, because we are not Father Christmas at all, the polices have to be right,” Dangote said.
Nigeria, he noted currently spends about $30 billion dollars annually to import petroleum products, lauding the commitments of the banks that have agreed to be part of the funding.
“It shows that there’s great confidence in the Nigerian economy and quite a lot of appetite for investment in our country,” the President of Dangote Group said.
Speaking with the delegation earlier, President Goodluck Jonathan assured that his administration will keep on implementing policies and measures that will continuously improve the operating environment for entrepreneurs and investors in the Nigerian economy.
The President thanked Dangote and the Chief Executives of the Nigerian banks that are helping to finance the project for being patriotic and having the confidence to invest in their own country.
He noted that the Dangote Group’s massive investment in refining, petrochemicals and fertilizer production will contribute significantly to the attainment of government’s priority objective of job creation.
“We are pleased that you are now investing in refining, petro-chemicals and fertilizer production. It is the downstream sector of oil and gas that can really create many jobs.
“Your interest and investment in that area will help in the area of job creation which we have been emphasizing. You are also helping us to move away from being a mere producer of raw materials by adding value to our natural resources,” he told Dangote and members of his delegation,” President Jonathan said.