The Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Chief Timipre Sylva, has stated that the 650,000 per day capacity Dangote Refinery and Petrochemical Plant, which is under construction, will be a success story coming out of Nigeria.
The minister also pledged the support of the federal government to Dangote Group to ensure the completion of the facility.
Sylvia stated this yesterday during his official visit to the refinery at the Lekki Free Trade Zone in Lagos.
The minister who was led to the refinery by the President of Dangote Industries Limited, Alhaji Aliko Dangote; and the company’s Executive Director, Strategy, Capital Projects and Portfolio Development, Mr. Devakumar Edwin, was accompanied by senators and leaders of government establishments, including Chairman, Senate Committee on Petroleum Downstream, Senator Sabo Nakudu; Chairman, Senate Committee on Services/member, Senate Committee, Upstream, Senator Muhammad Musa; and Group Managing Director, Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Mallam Mele Kyari, among others.
He said: “This is a very heartwarming moment for all of us as Nigerians. There is no way a project of this magnitude will be going on and government will not be interested. Anywhere in the world, if a citizen of a country has committed so much money into investing in this kind of massive project, government must show interest.
“I must say now that Dangote Group has turned this project to the story of all of us; we must all support this project to succeed, because the success of this project signals a lot. Of course, I am sure that the whole world is looking at the success of this project. Investors all over the world will look at the success of this project and will come to Nigeria to at least also enjoy the benefit of investing here.
“So, we are actually here to assure you, Dangote Group, that as a government, as NNPC, we will support this project as much as we can. You have definitely done very well. We will like to go from here to see the rest of the project. And then, please feel free to tell us where you think we can support.
“As you can see, the whole team is complete, and whatever your concerns are, whatever your problems are, please feel free to let us know, so that we will together find a solution to problems that you might encounter. Because of course, in project of this magnitude, you cannot expect that you will not have problems.
“We really are quite proud of you to have engaged in a project of this magnitude. If we as Nigerians don’t invest in this country, who will come and invest in it? The fact that you are investing this massively in the country is a signal for others to come to this country. That’s why we must support you to ensure that this project becomes a success, because if this project is a success, it is a success story that is coming out of Nigeria that will attract other people to also come here and invest.
“So, let us all as Nigerians come together, let us all as industry come together and ensure that this project is a success story out of Nigeria”.
Also fielding questions from journalists after the facility tour, Sylva, described the refinery as one of the most impressive projects ever seen.
He added that the government will lend its support to Dangote Group in the area of feedstock, saying that will depend on what the group said is their need.
Also commenting on the project, Kyari said the NNPC as he had been saying, was not in competition with Dangote rather both were out to support each other for the good of the country.
He said: “First of all, we are not competing with Dangote; we are complementing each other and our objective is the same, to make Nigeria a net exporter of petroleum products. And you can’t do this until you have complementary activities by all stakeholders, the public and the private sector.
“And what we are doing with our refineries is to make them work so that by the time the Dangote Refinery comes up we have a full complementarity with the NNPC refineries, complementarity that will make Nigeria a net exporter of gasoline and other associated products.”
On his part, Dangote said the group ventured into the project because of its belief in Nigeria.
According to him, “First of all, I think we believe in Nigeria and number two, if we don’t do it by ourselves nobody will come down here and do it for us. We know that there is growth in the population, almost three per cent annually. So, Nigeria is actually supposed to be feeding the entire West and Central Africa and that is what we are trying to do, that is why we went for this massive capacity.”