Emefiele Vows to Seize Chronic Loan Defaulters’ Private Jets

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Godwin Emefiele
Godwin Emefiele

Reaffirms confidence in Dangote companies
Refinery to commence operation next year

Nume Ekeghe

Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Governor, Mr. Godwin Emefiele, saturday said private jets belonging to chronic loan defaulters would be seized.
He also pledged that the central bank would continue to support credible entrepreneurs in the country, who would always repay their loans.

Emefiele also commended the determination of Dangote Group of Companies to complete the construction of its refinery and petrochemical plants, saying the investments would be a significant addition to the country’s economic diversification drive.

Emefiele, said this at the end of an assessment tour of the Dangote Refinery and Petrochemical Company situated at Ibeju-Lekki, Lagos.
He explained: “The central bank will not allow you to borrow money and not pay again. The era has gone. Now, when you take a loan, you will pay. If you don’t pay, we will take your money wherever you keep it.

“If you are flying private jets, we will seize the private jets so that you can begin to ride on bicycles. Then we will know you are truly a liquidated person. You cannot owe banks and be flying jets all over the place. We’ll come after you. You must pay those loans.”

President of Dangote Group of Companies, Alhaji Aliko Dangote, said the fertiliser plant, scheduled to be fully operational in May, would be a major foreign exchange earner for the country. Dangote extolled the CBN for keeping down leading rates.

Emefiele, who was on his third visit to the plant, said when the refinery is fully operational, Nigeria would become the largest exporter of refined petroleum products in Africa, with enough to serve the whole of the continent. He urged other entrepreneurs to take advantage of the low interest regime to raise funds.

The CBN governor stated, “We need to thank Aliko Dangote for the determination and his large heart. This is not a project that an ordinary person could have ever contemplated. I was here in 2016, 2019, and I’m also here today.

“The central bank is interested because there is a need at this time for us to diversify the base of the Nigerian economy from oil into other areas where we can earn revenue.

“The fertiliser plant, which would start commercially in May 2020, would curb the fertiliser scandals and importation. The president, in his wisdom, said we would no longer import fertiliser and this fertiliser plant of Dangote is 10 times that of Notore and this plant would generate $1 billion annually. The fertiliser would be used for our domestic consumption to help our agriculture transformation and the rest. Also, 75 per cent of it would be exported and we would earn $750 minimum only from fertilisers.”

Emefiele said it was expected that on completion the refinery would serve the whole of Africa and help to reduce freight cost.
“The second project is the refinery, which is a 650,000 barrels per day capacity that will not only satisfy local need, but also position Nigeria as a major exporter of petroleum products,” he stated.

The apex bank Governor added, “Because Nigeria is central, this refinery would serve the whole of Africa, which would reduce freight cost. Also because of our strategic position, it would even make the final cost of petroleum within and outside Nigeria to be lower than those that come from any other part of the world.

“Today, we import almost all our petrochemicals, such as polypropylene granules and polyethylene. These would now be produced here. Everything you produce that has a plastic base would be produced from this plant to satisfy not only domestic consumption but also export.”

Dangote, who is ranked by the Bloomberg Billionaires Index as Africa’s richest man and 88th riches person in the world, said during an interview, “Right now, we have reached over 48 per cent, but majority of the equipment, when they come, are just going to be installed. We have done all the foundation, as you have seen, and first of all, we want to thank the CBN Governor, the Deputy Governor for visiting here just to justify the help they have given to us.

“They were here last year and one of the reasons they are supporting us is that eventually we are going to help in terms of, not only creating jobs but also in reducing the outflow of foreign exchange, not only in petroleum products but also in petrochemicals, fertilisers, etc. We would be one of the highest foreign exchange generating companies going forward.

“It is a huge project and that is why we have built a jetty and the pipeline through which we are bringing in the crude. I must confess that without the government support, there is no way we would have done what we have done so far.

“I think we must thank Mr. President for his policies and we thank the CBN management for generally bringing down interest rates so that it can encourage other entrepreneurs to go into mega projects like this. We should not wait for foreign investors to come and develop our economy, it would never happen. So we have to do it ourselves.”

He added, “We have been complaining that interest rates are high, so now that interest rates are low and banks are being forced to lend money out, entrepreneurs should come out with their seed capital to borrow more money so we can develop our country.”

The billionaire businessman said regarding the companies’ contribution to the economy, “Nigeria would become the biggest and only urea exporter in Sub-Saharan Africa for the first time. And we are not only exporting, we would be exporting big time. Between us and Indorama, this is going to about 4.5 million tons of urea, which is fertiliser, annually.

“We also have polyethylene, which is about 1.3 million tons annually. These two products would bring in about $2.5 billion annually in terms of foreign exchange. A lot of Fx would now come in and that $2.5 billion is only about 10 per cent of remittances. Secondly, Nigeria would now become the largest exporter of petroleum products in Africa from our own domestic crude.

“There are other areas where the central bank has been encouraging us.”