… FG hails Dangote, hoping for $400m inflow from fertilizer export President Muhammadu Buhari alongside other dignitaries yesterday predicted an agricultural and economic boom for the country after the commissioning of the $2.5 billion Dangote Fertilizer Plant in Ibeju-Lekki, Lagos. They spoke at the inauguration of the plant, with an installed production capacity of three million metric tons (mt) of urea per year. Specifically, President Buhari noted that the plant is already exporting fertilizers to the United States of America (USA), India and Brazil, among other countries, and is expected to create huge opportunities for jobs, wealth and ensure the country’s agricultural future. The plant, located on 500 hectares of land in the Lekki Free Trade Zone, is reputed to be Africa’s largest granulated urea fertilizer complex and is expected to add over $400 million in foreign exchange. to the Nigerian economy through the export of the products to other African countries. . Buhari noted that the plant would enable Nigeria to become self-sufficient in fertilizer production. According to him, the federal government is now more determined than ever to provide an enabling environment for private sector investors to thrive, adding that his government will continue to improve infrastructure, electricity, security and enact relevant laws and regulations. that would stimulate investment in the economy. He said, “The fertilizer plant we are commissioning today has the ability to deliver multiplier effects to our economy, including job creation, which is a key objective of my administration. The nation also has a lot to gain in hard currency from the factory’s excess production. I am informed that we have already started exporting to USA, Brazil and India. “The commissioning of the plant creates enormous opportunities in the areas of employment, trade, warehousing, transport and logistics. This will create tremendous wealth, reduce poverty and secure the future of our nation. “In the agricultural sector, which is another focal point of our economic policy, we expect a boom, as fertilizers are now readily available. Many Nigerians, who hitherto practiced subsistence farming due to unavailability of necessary inputs, can now engage in farming as a business. We expect the rise of a new breed of agripreneurs who will add value to agriculture and make the nation self-sufficient in food production. The President noted that along with several other subsidiaries, the Dangote Group is the second largest labor employer in the country, after the federal government. He praised Dangote Group Chairman and CEO, Aliko Dangote, for helping to rebrand Nigeria through his investments across Africa. Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Governor Godwin Emefiele described the commissioning as “emotional” for himself and the bank. He said: “I am delighted, extremely delighted indeed that a Nigerian in the person of Alhaji Aliko Dangote has not only taken this great initiative to help solve a perennial petrochemical import problem, but has benefited from the ‘enormous emerging market opportunity presented by RECENT DEVELOPMENTS.’ Emefiele further described the event as a ‘stellar’ realization of President Buhari’s vision and timely in light of the war in Europe. He added, ‘This factory fertilizer is timely considering recent developments in world markets, where wheat, fertilizer and crude oil prices have soared by more than 30% following the Russian-Ukrainian war, in more of the lessons we have learned from protectionism. country actions during the early days of Covid-19. The Governor of Lagos State, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu, said former Governor Bola Tinubu designed the Lekki LFTZ Free Trade Zone in 2003 to attract investment to the state. He said the LFTZ also hosts the BPD 650,000 Dangote Refinery and Petrochemical Plant and the deep sea port of Lekki in the same axis, making it a prime investment destination. Trade, Industry and Investment Minister Niyi Adebayo noted that although the fertilizer complex is only one part of the Dangote refinery project, “this part alone offers value not quantifiable” to the economy. Adebayo said, “I am aware that this facility has the potential to produce three million metric jobs per year of urea fertilizer in phase one alone. “This will go a long way to filling the current fertilizer gap and improving soil and farm yields. “One of the key ambitions of the Federal Government is for Nigeria to be both self-sufficient in food production and also a net exporter of food and value-added products. The Dangote Fertilizer Plant contributes greatly to realizing this vision not just for Nigeria, but for the entire continent. Agriculture and Rural Development Minister Dr. Mohammad Abubakar also praised Dangote for the project. Earlier, Alhaji Dangote said that the fertilizer plant will significantly reduce the level of unemployment and youth unrest through the creation of direct and indirect jobs.