By Benjamin Omoike
President Muhammadu Buhari on Tuesday commissioned the Dangote Fertiliser three million metric tonnes urea plant, saying the plant will help boost food production in the country.
Speaking at the event, Buhari said that: “I am very delighted to be here to commission the new Dangote Fertiliser Plant, which has an installed capacity of 3.0 million metric tonnes of Urea per annum, the second largest of such plants in the world.
“This Fertiliser plant is expected to further advance this administration’s drive towards achieving self-sufficiency in the country food production.”
He commended the Board and Management of Dangote Industries Limited for their courage in conceptualising and building this new plant to reduce poverty, increase the inflow of foreign exchange and reduce our dependence on importation of fertiliser.
He noted that the new plant is a testament to the widely acknowledged patriotism of Alhaji Aliko Dangote and the leadership of Dangote Industries Limited, saying that it also demonstrates their commitment to the socio-economic development of our country and the well-being of our people.
He pointed out that, “Dangote Cement holds the enviable record as our continent’s largest cement producer, with footprints in fifteen countries. Its integrated cement plants (quarry to bagging), has effectively ended Nigeria’s dependence on imported cement products.
“Along with the several other subsidiaries, Dangote Industries has created thousands of jobs across Nigeria. It is the second biggest employer of labour in this country, after the Federal Government. Job creation by private sector operators is vital to security as it takes thousands of youths off the street.
“Dangote Group has been at the forefront of driving the nation’s industrialisation efforts with huge investments in diverse sectors, such as sugarcane plantation and refining, rice, salt and other allied products, vehicle assembly and logistics.”
The President further stated that, “The fertiliser plant has the capacity to provide multiplier effects on our economy, including job creation, which is a key goal of my administration. The nation also stands to gain extensively in earnings of foreign exchange from the excess production of the plant. I am informed that we have already started exporting to USA, Brazil and India.”
He also said “The coming on stream of the plant is creating huge opportunities in the areas of employment, trade, warehousing, transport and logistics. This will drastically create wealth, reduce poverty and secure the future of our nation.
“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.”
He reassured of the government focusing on providing an enabling environment for private sector investors to thrive, saying “We will continue to improve on infrastructure, power, security and enact relevant laws and regulations that will drive investments in the economy.”
Also speaking the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Godwin Emefiele said, “I am delighted, that a Nigerian in the person of Alhaji Aliko Dangote has taken not just this great initiative of helping to solve a perennial petrochemical imports problem, but has taken advantage of the emerging huge market opportunity presented by recent developments.”
Emefiele further described the event as a ‘stellar’ realisation of President Buhari’s vision and timely in the light of the war in Europe.
He added, “This fertiliser plant is timely when one considers recent developments in global markets where prices of wheat, fertiliser and crude oil spiked by over 30 percent following the Russia -Ukraine war, in addition to the lessons we learned from the protectionist actions of countries during the early days of Covid-19.”
Minister of Trade, Industry and Investment Niyi Adebayo noted that although the fertiliser complex is just one part of the Dangote Refinery project, saying this part alone offers unquantifiable value to the economy.
Adebayo said, “I am aware that this facility has the potential to produce three million metric jobs per annum of urea fertiliser in phase one alone.
“This will go a long way in bridging the current fertiliser gap and improving soil and farm yields.
“One of the Federal Government’s key ambitions is for Nigeria to be both self- sufficient in food production, and also to be a net exporter of food and value added products. The Dangote Fertiliser Plant goes a long way in realising this vision not just for Nigeria, but for the entire continent.
“Dangote fertilizer has the potential to meet not just Nigeria’s needs, but at its current capacity, it will earn the country millions of dollars from exports. It will also help with the unemployment problem our current country is currently faced with.”
On his part, President of Dangote Group, Aliko Dangote, expressed delight at the success of the fertiliser plant, saying the new plant 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.
According to Dangote, the Fertiliser complex which occupies 500 hectares of land was built at a cost of $2.5 billion. It is a developmental project with a resultant effect of reducing drastically the level of unemployment and youth restiveness in the country through generation of direct and indirect employment. It is common knowledge that the primary constraint to fertiliser’s use in quantity and quality has been the non-availability of the product at the needed time in the right quantity and quality.
President Buhari was accompanied by the host Governor, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu of Lagos State and members of the Federal Executive Council like the minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Otunba Niyi Adebayo to the Dangote Free zone.
Other prominent Nigerians present at to witness the ceremony include the President of the Senate Ahmad Lawan, Speaker House of Representatives Rt. Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila. Governor of the Central Bank, Godwin Emefiele.
On ground too to celebrate the Nigeria success story included, the Governor Katsina State, Alhaji Aminu Bello Masari, Governor of Delta State, Ifeanyi Okowa, Governor of Ogun State, Prince Dapo Abiodun, Chief Edward Onoja Deputy of Kogi State, Governor of Ekiti State, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, Governor of Kebbi State, Atiku Bagudu , Governor of Nasarawa State Governor Abdulahi Sule, Governor of Borno State Professor Babagana Zulum, Governor of Kano State Dr. Abdulahi Ganduje, Governor of Osun State, Adegboyega Oyetola, National leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC). Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu. Governor of Plateau State Lalong, Cross Rivers State, Prof. Ben Ayade, captains of Industry, members of the diplomatic Corps, National Assembly members, traditional rulers among others.