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The 650, 000 Barrel-Per-Day Dangote Petroleum Refinery and Petrochemical Plant has drawn praise from several African presidents.
Some of the African Presidents that heaped praises on the Chairman of the Dangote Group, Aliko Dangote for the feat include the Presidents of Ghana, Niger, Senegal, Togo, and Chad.
The African leaders joined their Nigerian counterpart, President Muhammadu Buhari, at the inauguration of the 650,000-bpd refinery in the Lekki area of Lagos State on Monday.
They opined that the refinery which is one of the biggest in the world will make Africa better and stronger.
According to Ghana’s President Nana Akufo-Addo, “This spectacular project, the Dangote Refinery and Petrochemical Complex makes West Africa better and stronger. And I congratulate this distinguished patriotic son of Africa for the sheer brilliance of this initiative,” he said.
On his part, Senegal’s President Macky Sall, who also spoke on behalf of Togo’s President, Faure Gnassingbe, said that the Dangote refinery project will improve access to electricity for Africans many of whom still have no electricity access.
“This great investment will inspire respect and admiration here in Nigeria, the most populous country on our continent. The Dangote Group is certainly helping to reduce the challenge of universal access to electricity and giving opportunity to industrialise our continent,” Sall said.
President of Niger Republic, Mohamed Bazoum also corroborated what his colleagues said, thanking Dangote for the project.
Also speaking, President Buhari described the establishment of Dangote Petrochemical Refinery and Petrochemicals as a game-changer and milestone for Nigeria’s economy.
He said it would enable the country to achieve self-sufficiency in the refined products and a surplus for export.
“This clearly makes this event a notable milestone for our economy and a game changer for the downstream petroleum product market not only in Nigeria but the entire African continent,” he said.
The project is expected to produce Premium Motor Spirit (petrol), Automotive Gas Oil (diesel), aviation jet fuel, and Dual-Purpose Kerosene (DPK), among other refined products.
Meanwhile, Godwin Emefiele, the Central Bank of Nigeria disclosed that the Dangote Group has paid back 70 percent of the loans it took to construct an oil refinery.
He made this known while speaking at the commissioning of the Dangote Refinery in Lagos on Monday.
The CBN boss said the refinery was initially estimated to cost just about $9 billion but the project cost escalated and was eventually completed with a total of $18.5 billion.
The amount, he said, constituted 50 percent equity investment by Dangote and 50 percent debt finance by banks.
Emefiele said the commercial loan component of the project was financed majorly by domestic banks while the rest was provided by foreign banks.
He added that the CBN also partnered with the Dangote Group to ensure successful completion of the project by providing about N125 billion for domestic currency requirements while also ensuring the availability of foreign exchange (FX) to pay for imported equipment.
“We have it on good authority that the Dangote Group has paid off some portion of these commercial loans even before this commissioning today,” Emefiele said.
“Today, total loans outstanding have dropped from over $9 billion when this project started to N2.7 billion. This reflects the astute credit worthiness and commercial capability of the group and its chairman, Alhaji Dangote.
“I must at this juncture appreciate all the participating local Nigerian banks, who did not only partner with the project through effective financing but were keenly aware of the importance of the project for our nation.
“They provided immense support and exceptional understanding, even when interest payments and principal repayment had fallen due.”
Emefiele further expressed optimism that Nigeria, under the incoming administration, will cease importing petroleum products, fertilizer and petrochemicals and save the country over $26 billion.
In a related development, the man of the moment, Aliko Dangote has heaped praises on Tinubu for his vision in creating the Free Trade Zone.
In a post on Twitter, the Africa’s richest man expressed gratitude to Tinubu for the vision.
Hear him, “I thank President Buhari for the Federal government support. I thank President-Elect Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu for creating Lekki Free Trade Zone” he enthused.
Many Nigerians have also expressed their appreciation to the president-elect.
According to Kuye Akinyemi on Twitter, “Tinubu is being appreciated for what he did as governor well over 16 yrs ago especially for Lekki Free Trade Zone among others. It would have been joyful to hear that Uzor Kalu created garment outfits in ABA where we will have shoes and garments that will compete with Italian own” he tweeted.
On his part, Adekunle Abolaji tweeted the following “Again, It’s not the size of Lagos IGR that grows the state, to further create enabling environment for business to thrive. It’s the ‘Quality’ of Governors that spearheaded affairs of the state from times of Former Gov. Bola Ahmed Tinubu (Now, Nigeria’s President-Elect) till date”.
Similarly, Omobolaji wrote “Tinubu created the pathway and I am glad he earned his flowers for this project. To lead, you must have a vision & utilize the means available to make the vision come to reality. The world will remember his idea, astuteness & vision for this wonderful feat. Congratulations Aliko!” he gushed.