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Ahead of 2023 new deadline for end of refined petroleum imports given recently by the GMD of NNPC, Mr Mele Kyari, the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Mrs Zainab Ahmed, Sunday disclosed in Lagos that “We are very confident that once Dangote Refinery commences operations, it will save us over 10 billion dollars that Nigeria was spending on importing petroleum products.”
Speaking during an inspection tour of the Dangote Refinery, Petrochemicals, Fertilizer Projects and the Deep-water Jetty at the Lekki Free Trade Zone in Lagos, she added that the volume of investments being driven by the African richest man, “will also help us to build local capacity and create jobs.”
Zainab, who commended the foresight and resilience of the President of Dangote Group, Alhaji Aliko Dangote, in pursuing the huge projects despite various challenges, averred that the savings from such an investment would strengthen Nigeria’s macro economy to attract more investors.
“Dangote Group is creating a large export industry that will help to bring in foreign exchange into the country reserves and as a business; he will be growing his revenue base from four billion dollars to 30 billion US dollars.
The minister said that the opportunities were good for the Dangote Group but would be better for Nigeria which would enjoy several benefits.
She said the Dangote Group had the capacity to fund the infrastructure needs of the ambitious projects and would continue to enjoy government’s waivers available to other businesses in the nation.
According to her, “Dangote projects had begun to create thousands of jobs and bringing in several specialisations and skills to Nigeria.”
Responding, Alhaji Dangote said his group had adopted measures that would help it to expand its revenue base from four billion dollars to 30 billion dollars annually beginning from 2021.
Elated Dangote revealed that the firm was ready to transform the nation’s domestic market by providing forex through expanded operations capacity of its group in the refinery, petrochemical, fertilizer and other supporting projects.
He added that “Our refinery can meet 100 percent of the Nigerian requirements of all liquid products such as: gasoline, diesel, kerosene and aviation jet. It will also have surplus of each of these products for export.
Dangote, who revealed that the ongoing projects at the Lekki Free Trade Zone had the capacity to generate about 32,000 direct and indirect jobs during and after completion, argued that “With the new areas of investments, we are doing just four billion dollars of revenue now.
“By the time we finish and beginning from 2021, we will be having N30 billion dollars of revenue because we will by then have the refinery, petrochemical and fertilizer all coming on stream, also, over a million tons of rice.
“We will have about 600,000 tons of locally made sugar by that time and our cement will have gone further.
“And beginning from January next year, eight million export facility of our cement company to other Africa countries to generate foreign exchange will commence operations,’’ he said.
Explaining more, Africa’s industrial giant averred that his group is currently targeting to meet the nation’s forex needs through its huge investment by turning around the group’s entire 20 billion dollars’ investment.
“By the time we finished this refinery and other projects, for us as a company we are going to record a major change, we are looking at moving from 4 billion dollars revenue to 30 billion dollars revenue.
“That will strengthen us to invest more money in our domestic economy.
“We don’t want Nigeria to be an import base economy but rather an export base economy.
“We have tried that in cement and it has really worked in the sense that we are looking at exporting almost 500 million dollars worth of cement in the next one to two years,’’ he said.
While disclosing that the firm had been able to meet its energy needs, he called on other private sector investors to partner government in power supply to deepen growth in national GDP.
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