By Charles Nwaoguji
President of Dangote Group, Aliko Dangote has said that Nigeria will become the biggest exporter of Urea in Sub-Sahara Africa when its fertilizer company comes on stream this May. He spoke to journalists after inspection of the facilities by the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, governor, Godwin Emefiele.
What does this giant fertilizer project mean to the nations economy
It is going to change quite a lot, Nigeria now will become the biggest and may be the only urea exporter in the sub Saharan Africa for the first time when you remove North Africa.
We are not only exporting, we are exporting big time, Nigeria will end up between ours and Indorama its going to be almost about four and a half to five million tons of urea which is fertilizer annually which is huge. Four million tons of urea is really huge.
Secondly, we will have polypropylene and these two products alone will bring in something about two and a half billion dollars in terms of foreign exchange.
So you can see that a lot of efforts will now come in, that two and a half billion is almost like ten per cent of what we are having from remittance Nigerians are sending.
Number two, Nigeria now will become the largest exporter of petroleum products in Africa.
Are there other areas the CBN is supporting your group
Yes of course, apart from petrochemical there are other areas which yes the CBN is encouraging as not only with financial support.
Nigeria will also be one of the largest exporter of cement, because we are about doing 8 million tons by this year.
The central bank also asked us why we did not intervene in the rice industry because we don’t have processing.
As we speak today we are building a million tons of rice processing and each mill out of the ten we are building has a storage capacity of 36 million tons.
So we can store 360 thousand tons of paddy rice and also the shell of the rice which people burn we will use it to generate power.
So all these mills will be in the rural areas and not the cities because we will generate our own power and again government is also doing the sugar backward integration.
There is quite a lot, people are complaining that there is low growth, it is not inclusive growth but what do you expect the government to do. Government can only run out policies, we as entrepreneurs must also risk our own capitals then borrow the remaining from the banks, if you are not ready to risk your own money, why should the bank lend you money.
What other values would this project add to the country
This project means a lot for the country in so many ways.
First of all we want to thank the governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria and the deputy governor and the management team of the bank. And one of the reasons why they are also supporting us is because eventually we are going to help in terms of not only supporting growth of local industries through this project but also in terms of reducing the outflow of foreign exchange through importation of petroleum products but also in petrochemicals, fertilizers and also we will be one of the highest foreign exchange generating entity going forward.
You can see the level of work that we have done it is very encouraging and through the CBN support we have done a very great work in this project.
That’s why we had to visit the jetty that we built and the pipeline which are bringing in the materials.
I must really confess that without the government support, there is no way we would have done what we have done so far and I thank the president and the governor and the deputy governor and management.
We understand government has adjusted the interest rate, how has this supported the project
We sincerely commend the Central Bank of Nigeria, who are helping in term of bringing down interest rates, so it can encourage other entrepreneurs to go into mega projects like this one and not wait for foreign investors to come and develop our economy.
We don’t have to wait for foreigners to come and develop our economy, it will never happen so we have to do it ourselves and the only way to do it is by putting Down ideas and money because people were complaining we are not doing much because interest rates are high so now that interest rates are low and the banks have been forced to lend money out, entrepreneurs should come out with their seed capital and risk their own capital to borrow more money and develop our country.