The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has unveiled a plan to strengthen the naira as the Dangote refinery is set to commence production soon. This was stated by the CBN governor, Godwin Emifele, during his visit to the multi-billion naira refinery located at Ibeju Lekki, Lagos state over the weekend, saying “We have taken the decision to sell the crude to the Refinery in Naira because we want to impact the economy.
He added, “We also hope that by the time the Refinery starts to refine and sell its petroleum products in Naira, the local currency will be stronger, and by extension the nation’s economy, which is still oil-driven.”
According to the CBN boss, the country will save up to 41% of its foreign exchange that is usually being spent on the importation of petroleum product into the country.
He revealed that the first shipment of Urea fertilizer from the Dangote fertilizer plant would be set in March 2021, based on a discussion he had with the NNPC and other oil companies. Dangote can buy crude oil in naira, after refining it, he will sell it to Nigerians in naira as well he said.
Consequently, this is where the foreign exchange will be saved for the country, saying the cost of freight, demurrage and other value chains which were all incurred as a result of importing petroleum product will be eliminated he said.
Emifele further reiterated that “This will make the price of our petroleum products cheaper in naira. If we are lucky that what the refinery produces is more than we need locally you will see Nigerian businessmen buying small vessels to take them to our West African neighbours to sell to them in naira.
“This will increase our volume in naira and help to push it into the Economic Community of West African States as a currency.”
The CBN boss expresses optimism that the refinery would be put to use by the end of the first quarter of the year 2022, subsequently, Nigeria will focus on other advantages to boost the country’s economy after eliminating the foreign exchange that comes as a result of importing fuel.
He said the CBN has already given up to N100 billion as an intervention into the project, promising that the Nigerian government is ready to support any business that would boost the country’s economy.
While speaking, Aliko Dangote said the fertilizer and the petrochemical plant is capable of generating $2.5 billion annually while the refinery would save both Nigeria and other African countries from importing petroleum product into West Africa.
Dangote applauded president Buhari administration and the CBN for giving him a push to actualise such a giganti8c project first of its kind in Africa, promising that it would deplete the labour market substantially.
In his statement, “I will like to thank the president personally for helping us and assisting us in making sure that we are now back on track. “Mr President personally wrote a letter to the president of China and asked them to bring the expatriates that we don’t have so that we can continue work.
“During the coronavirus, you will remember that we had one or two cases when it started and everybody ran away from the site but right now we are beginning to bring people back and we have about 30,000 people now.”
He concluded, “The good part of it is that we have learnt a lot also and there are a lot of Nigerians that just need small training and they are doing extremely well. So now, we only need a small number of people coming from abroad just to give that training.”