President Muhammadu Buhari said on Tuesday that Nigeria’s dependence on imported products in the agricultural sector would soon be a thing of the past with the inauguration of the Dangote Fertilizer Plant, which has an installed capacity of 3.0 million metric tons of urea per year.
KANO TUNING reports that the president said the plant will further advance Nigeria’s drive to achieve self-sufficiency in food production, create jobs, increase the inflow of foreign exchange and accelerate economic growth.
Speaking at the commissioning of Ibeju Lekki Plant in Lagos State, the President commended the Chairman, Board and Management of Dangote Industries Limited for their business initiative in conceptualizing and construction of this plant, which is the second largest in the world.
The Chairman expressed confidence that the investment in this plant will replicate the Group’s previous exploits in the cement sector, where Dangote Cement holds the enviable record of our continent’s largest cement producer, with footprints in ten other countries. Africans.
”This new factory is a renewed testament to the widely recognized patriotism of Alhaji Aliko Dangote and the leadership of Dangote Industries Limited. It also demonstrates their commitment to the socio-economic development of our country and the well-being of our people.
“The Group’s investment in integrated cement plants, spanning the value chain from quarrying to bagging, has effectively ended Nigeria’s dependence on imported cement products.
”Along with several other subsidiaries, Dangote Industries Limited has created thousands of jobs across Nigeria. It is the second largest employer in the country, after the federal government.
”This is heartening because job creation by private sector operators is vital for security as it takes thousands of young people off the streets,” he said.
Regarding the other benefits of the factory, the President said he was delighted that with the start of exports to other countries including the United States, India and Brazil, Nigeria is already earning considerably in foreign exchange. thanks to the surplus production and export of the plant.
He noted that the commissioning of the plant has created huge opportunities in the areas of job creation, trade, warehousing, transportation and logistics, which, in turn, would create significant wealth, reduce poverty and help secure the nation’s future.
”In the agricultural sector, another focal point of our economic policy, we expect a boom as fertilizers are now readily available in greater quantity and better quality.
“Many Nigerians who hitherto practiced subsistence farming due to unavailability of necessary inputs can now venture into farming as a business.
“We expect a new breed of agripreneurs to emerge who will add value to agriculture and make the nation self-sufficient in food production,” he said.
President Buhari took the opportunity to reassure Nigerians that his government is focused on creating an enabling environment for private sector development, pledging continuity in improving infrastructure, electricity and security, as well as the promulgation of relevant laws and regulations to stimulate investment in the economy.
”We are working in partnership with the private sector, through a tax credit scheme, in the rehabilitation of roads across Nigeria under Presidential Decree No. 7.
”As we know, good roads help facilitate the movement of goods and services across the country, thereby reducing the cost of doing business and improving productivity.
“We are also rehabilitating our railway lines and building new ones to lighten the load on our roads and create more efficient multimodal transport networks,” he said.
”I look forward to returning to inaugurate the refinery and petrochemical plant later this year.
”Projects of this magnitude and complexity require the support and collaboration of many people and organizations. I am grateful to all of them.
“In particular, I would like to commend the Central Bank of Nigeria, development finance institutions and local and foreign commercial banks who have supported the investor to bring these projects to fruition,” the president said.
Praising Dangote for helping rebrand Nigeria through his mega investments across Africa, President Buhari said:
”He has fueled the job-driven growth and transformation of several African economies. I am proud of his contribution to affirming Nigeria’s leadership status on the continent, and wish him much more success in the future.”
After the historic inauguration, President Buhari inspected the 650,000 bpd oil refinery and 900,000 tpa polypropylene plant located in the Dangote Free Zone complex.
In his remarks, Dangote said the fertilizer complex, which occupies 500 hectares and built at a cost of $2.5 billion, will significantly reduce the level of unemployment and youth unrest in the country, thanks to the creation direct and indirect jobs.
“Agriculture accounts for over 20% of Nigeria’s GDP, and the country is one of the leading producers of various agricultural products. The sector has the potential to become the biggest source of income for our nation, providing jobs and raw materials for industries.
“However, the low use of fertilizer has been one of the main reasons for the low productivity of the sector. It is common knowledge that the unavailability of the product, in quantity and quality, rather than its affordability, is the main constraint to the use of fertilizers.
“Our goal is to make fertilizers available in sufficient quantity and quality for our many farmers, thereby ensuring greater agricultural production,” he said.
The Managing Director of Dangote Industries expressed his immense gratitude to President Buhari, for his continued support and encouragement, and for honoring the invitation to come, in person, to inaugurate the factory.
He also commended the leaders of the host communities and their people for providing a peaceful environment conducive to the project’s prosperity, acknowledging the many years of enthusiastic teamwork, hard work, toil and sweat of the management. and Dangote Group staff for their commitment to high performance, perseverance and resilience.
Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, recounted the role played by a former state governor, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, in setting up the fertilizer plant and refinery.
“The idea of having a free zone in Ibeju Lekki was conceived by our chief Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu.
“I was with him in 2003, when we took a trip to China and we were trying to design a free zone and that’s where we are.
“The free zone is not only home to Africa’s largest fertilizer plant, but will certainly house the largest refinery,” Sanwo-Olu said.
He thanked the President for coming to Lagos, adding that he looked forward to receiving him in a few months to commission other projects.