FG Begs Dangote To Finish Refinery Before 2019

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Aliko Dangote
Aliko Dangote

The Federal Government has said it relied heavily on Dangote refinery to fulfil its promise to Nigerians to end fuel importation by December 2019.

To this end, Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Mr. Ibe Kachikwu, who visited the Dangote Oil Refinery site at Lekki Free Trade Zone, in Lagos, yesterday, said the government was ready to play its part as a responsible government to assist in making sure the project was completed before the scheduled date.

The minister, who said he was overwhelmed by the dimension of the project, explained that the current government had always believed that the private sector held the ace in industrialisation efforts of the government. He noted that his belief had been reinforced by what the Dangote Group was doing.

He said: “It is good to say that private sector is the answer to Nigerian’s problems with a project as big as this. The challenge I will give you today is that of time, I see your time for completion is 2019 December but I am sure you will understand my greed if I tell you that the refinery component of this project should come earlier than the set date.”

“I have made very firm commitment to Nigerians that I must stop the importation of petroleum products by 2019 and I am going to keep to it. It is absolutely important that we do this early and given the feat that we have achieved in terms of speed of construction, I urge you to do all within you to achieve its completion before the due date.

“I am sure His Excellency, President Muhammadu Buhari, will be absolutely enthused if he were to find himself, not only crystalizing the policy position we have taken so far but also coming here himself to open a facility as big as this before the end of his first term. ‘’Whatever configurations your engineers have come up with, I urge that they go back to the drawing board and get me my refined products before your said date.”

We’ll meet up with the challenge

In his response to the government’s challenge, Dangote said he had accepted the challenge and would do all possible to achieve the feat.

Dangote said: “On the honourable minister’s challenge, we are going to make it by the grace of God. I am sure the minister will support us to make sure that we meet his challenge.

“What the minister is trying to do is the best so far for our country. His  version is that Nigeria should not think of exporting crude. You know the problem we have in Africa is that we only export raw materials, not finished goods. So he is saying that, look, we should all do this by adding value and I pray that even at 2.5 million barrels, we should not export much, in terms of the crude.

“We will go back and see what to do to make this happen by fast tracking our processes since the Minister has assured of government’s cooperation and support”

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