The Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Mrs Zainab Ahmed, gave the commendation during an inspection of the Dangote Refinery, Petrochemicals, Fertilizer Projects and the Deep-water Jetty at the Lekki Free Trade Zone in Lagos.
She commended the foresight and tenacity of Alhaji Aliko Dangote, the President of the Dangote Group for pursuing the huge projects despite various challenges.
She pledged the Federal Government’s continued support for local businesses to thrive and attract investors.
“Dangote Group is creating a large export industry that will help to bring in foreign exchange into the country reserves and as a business, he will be growing his revenue base from four billion dollars to 30 billion US dollars.
“We are very confident that once Dangote Refinery commences operations, it will save us over 10 billion dollars that Nigeria was spending on importing crude oil and it will also help us to build local capacity and create jobs,’’ she said.
Ahmed said that the savings from such an investment would strengthen Nigeria’s macroeconomy to attract more investors.
The minister said that the opportunities were good for the Dangote Group but would be better for Nigeria which would enjoy several benefits.
She said the Dangote Group had the capacity to fund the infrastructure needs of the ambitious projects and would continue to enjoy government’s waivers available to other businesses in the nation.
She added that the projects had begun to create thousands of jobs and bringing several specialisations and skills to Nigeria.
Also, the President of the Dangote Group, Alhaji Aliko Dangote, in his address said that the firm had adopted measures that would help it to expand its revenue base from four billion dollars to 30 billion dollars annually beginning from 2021.
He said that the firm was ready to transform the nation’s domestic market by providing forex through expanded operations capacity of its group in the refinery, petrochemical, fertilizer and other supporting projects.
“Our refinery can meet 100 per cent of the Nigerian requirements of all liquid products such as gasoline, diesel, kerosene and aviation jet. It will also have a surplus of each of these products for export,’’ he said.
He added that the ongoing projects at the Lekki Free Trade Zone had the capacity to generate about 32,000 direct and indirect jobs during and after completion.
“With the new areas of investments, we are doing just four billion dollars of revenue now.
” By the time we finish and beginning from 2021, we will be having N30 billion dollars of revenue because we will by then have the refinery, petrochemical and fertilizer all coming on stream, also, over a million tons of rice.
“We will have about 600,000 tons of locally made sugar by that time and our cement will have gone further.
“And beginning from January next year, eight million export facility of our cement company to other Africa countries to generate foreign exchange will commence operations,’’ he said.
Dangote said that the firm was targeting to meet the nation’s forex needs through its huge investment by turning around the group’s entire 20 billion dollars’ investment.
He said this would yield the annual 30 billion dollars domestic revenue.
He said that the firm has been able to meet its energy needs and called on other private sector investors to partner government in power supply to have meaningful GDP growth.
“By the time we finished this refinery and other projects, for us as a company we are going to record a major change, we are looking at moving from 4 billion dollars revenue to 30 billion dollars revenue.
“That will strengthen us to invest more money in our domestic economy.
“We don’t want Nigeria to be an import base economy but rather an export-based economy.
“We have tried that in cement and it has really worked in the sense that we are looking at exporting almost 500 million dollars worth of cement in the next one to two years,’’ he said.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the minister later inspected the ongoing Apapa-Oshodi-Ojota-Oworonsoki Expressway project under reconstruction.
She commended the quality of rigid pavement being constructed.
The minister said that 19 roads across the country were being built under the tax credit scheme which Dangote Group leveraged on to take up the project.
Ahmed called on other private sector investors to buy into the scheme to bridge the road infrastructure gap in the nation.
“This is the kind of standard that we want roads to have in Nigeria,“ she said.