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Buhari inaugurates Dangote’s $2.5bn fertiliser plant

From left: Deputy Secretary-General, The United Nations, Amina Mohammed; President/CE, Dangote Industries Limited, Aliko Dangote; President Muhammadu Buhari, and Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, during the plant inauguration.

President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday inaugurated the new 3 million metric tonnes capacity per annum state-of-the-art Dangote Fertiliser Urea Plant.

He also gave the assurance that the project would give a huge fillip to Nigeria’s agricultural sector, which revitalisation has been a focal point of his administration’s economic policy.

The new plant is located at the Ibeju Lekki, Lagos Free Trade Zone (LFTZ) within the periphery of the Dangote Refinery.

Buhari said the coming on stream of the plant would create huge opportunities in terms of employment, trade, warehousing, transport and logistics, and “will greatly create wealth, drastically reduce poverty and secure the future of our nation.”

He said: “In the agricultural sector, another focal point of our economic policy, we expect a boom as fertiliser is now readily available. Many Nigerians who hitherto practiced subsistence farming because of non-availability of necessary inputs can now take up agriculture as a business. We expect a rise of a new breed of agropreneurs who will add value to farming and make the nation self-sufficient in food production.”

According to him, the federal government is more determined than ever before to provide an enabling environment for private sector investors to thrive, adding that his government would continue to improve on infrastructure, power, and security, and enact relevant laws and regulations that would drive investments in the economy.

President Buhari reiterated his government’s partnership with the private sector via a tax credit scheme in the rehabilitation of roads across Nigeria under the Presidential Order No. 7.

“As we all know, good roads contribute to easy movement of goods and services across the nation, thus reducing the cost of doing business and improving productivity. We are also rehabilitating our railway lines and building new ones to lessen the burden on our roads and create more effective multi-model transportation networks,” he added.

As we all know, good roads contribute to easy movement of goods and services across the nation, thus reducing the cost of doing business and improving productivity.

Production self-sufficiency

Earlier in his welcome address, President of Dangote Group, Aliko Dangote, described the new plant as a game changer, as it has the capacity to make Nigeria become self-sufficient in fertiliser production, with spare capacity to export to other markets in Africa and the rest of the world.

He added that already, Dangote fertiliser has reached the markets in the USA, Brazil and Mexico.

According to him, the Fertiliser Plant, which is the largest granulated Urea fertiliser complex in Africa, occupies 500 hectares of land, was built at a cost of $2.5 billion, and is expected to drastically reduce the level of unemployment and youth restiveness in the country through employment opportunities.

To him, the plant is expected to generate new jobs with top quality fertilisers being available and in sufficient quantities for farmers, especially as agriculture accounts for 20% of Nigeria’s GDP.

As such, Dangote Fertiliser would ensure the emergence of a new era of agricultural entrepreneurs (agroprenuers). “This breed of agroprenuers will take to farming on large scales, providing food and raw materials for our industries,” he added.

This service is to cover all the geopolitical zones, and will surely change the agricultural landscape in the country by transforming farming into a lucrative profession.

Extension services

Dangote said the fertiliser plant is rolling out with innovations that would transform the agricultural sector in the form of extension services for small and medium scale farmers.

This is because it has set up a well-equipped fertiliser soil testing laboratory to enable it analyse and identify soil deficiency and the appropriate fertiliser blend.

He continued: “Studies have shown that applying the right fertiliser to the soil will boost productivity. This service is to cover all the geopolitical zones, and will surely change the agricultural landscape in the country by transforming farming into a lucrative profession.

“Dangote Fertiliser is working with farmer associations, corporate farmers, NPKblenders, NGO/development partners and state governments all over Nigeria, and governments across Africa and beyond, who are looking for a sustainable approach to improving soil quality and farm yields.”

Boosting value

Also speaking, the Governor, Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Godwin Emefiele, said the country is indeed indebted to Aliko Dangote for his giant strides in adding value to the economy.

He said: “It is great that a Nigerian has taken not just this great initiative of helping to solve our perennial problem of importing petrochemical products including fertiliser, but has taken advantage of the emerging huge market opportunity presented by recent global developments.”

Emefiele commended President Buhari for providing all the support needed to put in place economic policies that would reverse the trend of the doldrums, pointing out that the completion of the fertiliser plant is a stellar example of the realisation of the vision.

The CBN Governor described the fertiliser plant as timely considering the recent developments in the global market, where prices of wheat, fertiliser and crude oil spiked by over 20%, following the start of the Russia-Ukraine war.

“In addition to the lessons we learnt from the protectionist actions of countries during the early days of COVID-19, this investment is again a glaring testament to the foresight and tireless efforts of Mr. President in encouraging domestic production of items that can be produced in Nigeria, especially agriculture.

“This would not only help to enable greater productivity of our agricultural sector but also help in insulating Nigeria farmers from depending on imported fertiliser,” Emefiele stated.

He recalled that prior to 2015 when President Buhari resumed office; Nigeria had a fertiliser shortfall of about 3.5 million tonnes per annum compared to the over 6 million tonnes per annum required in the country.

“Then President Buhari inaugurated the Presidential Fertiliser Initiative and charged them with resolving this problem. With sustained efforts, other indigenous companies like Indorama and Notore with a combined capacity of over 2.5 million tonnes per annum have tried to match the market demand, yet the country still faced a huge shortfall of fertiliser supply.

“Today, Nigeria is self-sufficient in the production of urea, and we are also the leading producer of urea in the African continent,” he added.

This would not only help to enable greater productivity of our agricultural sector but also help in insulating Nigeria farmers from depending on imported fertiliser.

The Minister of Agriculture, Dr. Mahmood Abubakar, called on other investors to rise up to the occasion, noting that the Dangote Fertiliser would help to solve the problem of fertiliser shortages in Nigeria, assuring that the government would enforce standards in the industry to maintain quality.

Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, commended Aliko Dangote for always blazing the trail, noting that Lagos state government was happy to be hosting many of his businesses.

He added that, “with the largest fertiliser plant in Africa in Lagos, and the largest refinery in the world coming soon, there is nobody that would not be proud of Alhaji Dangote.”

The Governor noted that Nigeria would quickly forget its many economic problems if another entrepreneur like Dangote could be replicated in other regions of Nigeria.

Sanwo-Olu also assured private investors of the State Government’s support by providing an enabling environment to make businesses thrive.

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