Vice President Yemi Osibanjo on Saturday embarked on official assessment tour of Dangote Refinery and three other projects being developed by Aliko Dangote at the Lekki Free Trade Zone (LFZ) in Lagos, Southwest Nigeria.
Prof. Osinbajo visited in company of Governor Akinwunmi Ambode of Lagos; Alhaji Aliko Dangote, Femi Otedola, Finance minister Kemi Adeosun, among others.
The ongoing construction of the $12 billion refinery will be completed in the first quarter of 2019.
On completion, the Federal Government is expected to earn over N145 billion ($500 million) from Dangote investments in the state.
Other investments of Dangote in Lagos include the ongoing petrochemical project, gas pipeline project and the fertilizer project.
Answering questions from newsmen, Osibanjo disclosed that the Dangote refinery would be completed by the first quarter of 2019, while the gas pipeline project would be completed by 2018.
“We have seen the refinery project site. It is meant to refine 650,000 barrels per day. By all projection, it is the largest in the world. It has a petro-chemical plant. It also has fertilizer plant, which is projected to be the largest in the world. There is also a sub-sea gas pipeline project there.
“It is an incredible industrial undertaking. It is possibly the largest and the most ambitious on the continent today. It is truly inspiring to see. The refinery will take off in the first quarter of 2019. I think the sub-sea gas pipeline, which is very important project, is meant to take off in 2018. That gas pipeline will go all the way from Bonny through Ogedegbe, Olokola to Lekki here and Escravos, Lagos pipeline and then West Africa Gas Pipeline.
“That is also meant to produce 3 billion cubic of gas daily. That is huge. If you consider our current requirement, it is about 2 billion cubic of gas daily or so. That is incredible. If it can be done, it is a major asset for Nigeria. It will boost our gas supply tremendously. For me, that is the most important project that could be done in this country. It will be a major boost for industrial development,” Osibanjo stated.
On security of the gas pipeline, the vice president said, “If you are talking about the security of the gas pipeline, it is secure. The pipeline is installed under the sea. It is a sub-sea project. It is fortified and goes into the sea. It is not what anybody can go there and vandalise with the way it is designed. It is designed to prevent vandalisation. It is designed very deep into the sea.”
In his remark, Ambode said apart from the 135,000 direct jobs that the projects would create, another 100,000 indirect jobs would be generated while income accruable to the Federal Government would be in the region of over $500 million (N145 billion) in three years.
He said that the refinery, petrochemical, gas and fertilizer projects being undertaken by Dangote would significantly boost the economy of Lagos and Nigeria in general, adding that the projects would have great multiplier effects on the nation’s economy.
“Firstly, there is a refinery project that is ongoing, secondly, there is a petrochemical project that is also ongoing. There is pipeline transfer project that brings gas from Bonny down to Olokola and down to Lekki and then the fourth one is the fertilizer project, all in one location,” he said.
Ambode stated that the projects would also be critical to the economic growth of the Lagos East and West Senatorial Districts which according to him, would be open to massive investment opportunities on completion.
He said that the decision of the Vice President to lead the inspection visit to the projects was a signpost to the benefits inherent not just for the State but to the nation.
He assured that his administration would provide the necessary support to ensure that the projects are completed within schedule.
“The coming of the Vice President to inspect this project is instructive and a sign post that the Federal Government is in support of what is going on us and the truth is this, we might not be able to show you all that is going on here but in another few weeks, we will do an aerial view of this project and also do a documentary because for the very first time we are going to have a Petrochemical project that is coming on stream by December 2017; a Refinery that is coming on stream by the first quarter of 2019 and also the Gas project that is coming on stream by 2018. You can just imagine or visualize what that means to the economy of Lagos.
“It is important that we understand the depth of what has happened here and also use it as a platform to encourage other investors that Lagos is on the rise and the future of Lagos is very bright,” he said.
On his part, Dangote said the decision to site the projects in Lagos was due to the investment friendly climate in the state.
“Lagos is one State that is very investor-friendly and the Governor himself has always been asking what the issues are and he normally put in place steps to resolve those issues immediately,” he said.
Dangote said the gas pipeline project would guarantee uninterrupted power supply in Lagos on completion, which he said, would also positively increase the State’s Gross Domestic Project (GDP), adding that the projects would also attract other bigger investors into the Zone.
“Our target is that in the next five years or so from now, we hope and we believe that half of Nigeria’s crude will be refined and exported rather than just exporting crude to go and create jobs elsewhere,” Dangote said.