By Emmanuel Addeh
The federal government and the Kingdom of Morocco yesterday signed five strategic Memorandum of Understandings (MoUs) to enable Nigeria begin the importation of phosphate used in the production of fertilisers, from the North African country.
The deal was witnessed by the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Mr. Timipre Sylva, Group Managing Director of Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Mallam Mele Kyari; Governor of Akwa Ibom, Mr. Udom Emmanuel; his Jigawa counterpart, Badaru Abubakar and Managing Director of Nigeria Sovereign Investment Authority (NSIA), Mr. Uche Orji.
According to its proponents, the transaction, which was also attended by the Executive Secretary of the Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB), Mr. Simbi Wabote, would foster Nigeria-Morocco bilateral collaboration and promote the development of hydrocarbons, agriculture, and commerce in both countries.
A statement by the NCDMB last night, noted that Sylva led the Nigerian delegation to the agreement signing ceremony at Marrakech, Morocco, while the Chief Executive Officer of OCP Africa, Mr. Anouar Jamali, signed for the Kingdom of Morocco.
Under the agreement between OCP, NSIA and the NNPC, Nigeria will import phosphate from the Kingdom of Morocco and deploy it in the production of blended fertiliser for the local market and export and also produce Ammonia for export to Morocco.
As part of the project, the Nigerian government plans to establish an Ammonia plant at Akwa Ibom State, while NNPC and NCDMB will take part of the equity in the Ammonia plant when the Final Investment Decision (FID) is taken.
Sylva said that the project would broaden economic opportunities for the two nations and improve the wellbeing of the people, adding that it will also positively impact agriculture, stimulate the growth of gas-based industries and lead to massive job creation.
He stated that President Muhammadu Buhari had mandated the ministry and its agencies and other government agencies to give maximum support for the project.
“He mandated me to ensure that at least the first phase of this project is commissioned before the expiration of his second term in office in 2023,” he added.
The MOUs will also serve as support for the 2nd phase of the Presidential Fertiliser Initiative; shareholders agreement for the creation of the joint venture company to develop the multipurpose industrial platform and MOU for equity investment by the NNPC in the joint venture and support of the gas sector.
Other agreements were term sheet for gas sales and aggregation agreement and MOU for land acquisition and administrative facilitation to the establishment of the multipurpose industrial platform for gas sales and aggregation agreement.