By Collins Nweze
Nigerian banks and their foreign counterparts invested between $9 billion and $10 billion in the Dangote Refinery, Fertilizer Plant and Petrochemical Company projects worth $17 billion, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Governor, Godwin Emefiele, announced on Friday.
Speaking during an assessment tour of the company in Ibeju-Lekki, Lagos, the CBN boss said Dangote Industries contributed the rest as its own equity and capital.
Emefiele said he was happy that one of the projects that were nurtured together with the bankers during his seven years at the apex bank is coming out successful.
“I feel happy that one of those projects that we have nurtured together, worked together with the bankers; a $17 billion project and I can say the bankers, both the foreign and local banks, contributed close to about half of these monies.
“So, we are talking about close to $9 billion to $10 billion contributed by the banks while the Dangote Industries contributed the rest as its own equity and capital into this project,” he said.
He said Nigeria will save over $3 billion annually from imports of due to the operation of the company.
He listed the local banks involved in the funding as Access Bank Plc, Zenith Bank Plc, United Bank for Africa Plc, First Bank of Nigeria Limited and Guaranty Trust Bank Plc.
He said the bankers came for the assessment tour as it is important that at some point, they should know where their money has been spent.
Continuing, Emefiele said: “This is a journey that started about four years ago. This journey, not too many people believed would come to light today.
“The purpose of this visit is for the bankers to conduct what is called final inspection of the fertiliser plant.
“The fertiliser plant has now started production and Dangote Industries is ready to now flood the Nigeria market with fertiliser, in this case urea, and the excess would go for export.”
Emefiele disclosed that the fertilizer plant, which is now ready for commercial sales, is three million tonnes of urea.
“I am saying that by the time we add the capacity we have from Indorama Fertilizer, which is about 1.5 million metric tonnes, Notore which is about 300,000 metric tonnes, we have close to about five million metric tonnes capacity for urea in Nigeria,” he said.
He said Nigeria needs between one million and 1.5 million metric tonnes of urea, and the rest will be exported.
Emefiele said inspection will continue for the petrochemical and refinery plants, with assurances that the mechanical commissioning should end by the end of this year, and refinery and petrochemical will kick off by the end of first quarter of next year.
Also speaking, President, Dangote Group, Aliko Dangote, thanked Emefiele and the banks for trusting him with their money.
“Thank you very much the Governor of the CBN, my brother and my friend, Mr. Godwin Emefiele, and all the bankers that are here, Guaranty Trust Bank, Access Bank, United Bank for Africa, Zenith Bank and First Bank.”
“But I must first thank Mr. President for giving us all the support which made this project possible. But I think I must also put on record that your encouragement, your support and these bankers that are here, without them, without their support, there is no way we could have even dreamt of this project.
“This project is something that we started dreaming of, but it would not have been possible without these bankers that are here. So, I must thank you most sincerely for all your support and for believing in us that yes, we can actually deliver,” Dangote said.
He said the Urea or fertilizer has gotten all its licenses from the National Security Adviser, the Ministry of Agriculture, the Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON), NAFDAC and all the other agencies.