Dollar crisis: EFCC plans massive raid on forex dealers
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission on Tuesday carried out simultaneous operations against Bureau de Change operators in Abuja and Kano, as the Naira slumped to N857 to a dollar at the parallel market.
The PUNCH gathered that the raids in the two cities, which netted a good number of illegal BDC operators and individuals suspected to be customers, would also be extended to Lagos, Onitsha, Ibadan, Port Harcourt and other major cities across the country.
Our correspondents learnt that the incident disrupted the day’s business as many of the BDC operators in Abuja went underground.
This is happening as the EFCC arrested the Kogi State House of Assembly candidate of the New Nigeria Peoples Party, Ismaila Atumeyi and two others with N326m and $140,500 cash.
The black market forex dealers were carrying on their business activity as usual when the EFCC operatives backed by armed policemen stormed their makeshift stalls located opposite the Sheraton Hotel in Zone 4, Wuse, Abuja and took many of them into custody.
An eyewitness noted that the arrested suspects were dragged into waiting vehicles as the incident stalled traffic in the area.
In the wake of the Central Bank of Nigeria’s announcement that the redesigned naira notes will replace higher notes to fight counterfeiting, inflation and insecurity with effect from December 15, the national currency has continued to be under pressure against the dollar.
The development was blamed on BDC operators and individuals desperate to convert their ill-gotten money into hard currency.
The EFCC Chairman, Abdulrasheed Bawa had endorsed the planned redesign of the naira and cautioned BDC operators against currency hoarders who would attempt to seize the opportunity to offload the currencies they had illegally stashed away.
Giving an insight into the raids in Abuja and Kano, a senior official explained that the EFCC has been monitoring the activities of forex dealers in the two cities, adding that the operations were intelligence-led.
He also disclosed further that the raids would be extended to Lagos, Port Harcourt, Maiduguri, Ibadan and other cities across the country to stop BDC operators from ‘destroying the naira.’
“Today’s (Tuesday) operations were successful as they were intelligence-led. We have placed various bureau de change points under watch since the CBN announced the redesign of the naira.
“So, we know that those with illegal wealth would want to take advantage of the development to off-load their stash and convert it to dollars. It is not a one-off operation; it would be extended to Lagos, Port Harcourt, Maiduguri, Ibadan, Onitsha and other cities,’’ the official disclosed.
“The EFCC spokesman, Wilson Uwujaren confirmed the raid on the forex dealers in Abuja and Kano but said he has no information on the planned operation in other cities.
“I can confirm that our operatives raided the Wuse Zone 4 area of Abuja today and arrested some BDC operators. However, I can’t confirm the number of suspects arrested yet,’’ he stated.
But speaking with The PUNCH after the raid, a forex dealer in Abuja blamed the EFCC for the crash of the local currency.
“We are all in hiding. We sell at N857/$ now. I told you it was N850/$ in the afternoon but that rate is no more possible at this time. The dollar is very scarce because the EFCC entered the market today. Maybe things will change tomorrow (today),” a forex dealer, Abubakar Attahiru, told one of our correspondents on the telephone at 6.12 pm on Tuesday.
Another BDC operator offered to buy a dollar bill at N855 as long as the seller had large sums of greenbacks.
“The more dollars you sell, the more money you make. If we buy at N850/$ from someone who has $100, we will buy at N852 from someone who has $10,000,” he disclosed.
But the Association of Bureau De Change Operators of Nigeria, Alhaji Aminu Gwaadabe, said he was fully in support of the raid.
“As an association, we are in support of the raid. We cannot be seeing a lot of irregularities and still support them. It is unlicensed people that have taken over the market. The licensed are not even allowed to operate in the market,” he complained.
He explained that his association was aware of the impact of the proposed naira redesign, which had forced many Nigerians to move towards converting their naira to dollars, noting, however, that it was not a justification for the level of uncertainties in the market.
Economists have said the only major solution to the naira devaluation and the dollarisation of the Nigerian economy is productivity .
According to them, the current situation would hurt all aspects of the economy.
For a Professor of Economics at the Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka, Anambra State, Uche Nwogwugwu, the major problem was the CBN’s naira redesign announcement.
“What you have seen in the parallel market is a spasm of fear in the people. Why do you need to change your currency at this time when you have inflationary pressure, falling reserves and an economic downturn?
“If all of a sudden you are compelling people to change their currencies, they will be afraid and you will certainly have this kind of situation,” he said.
The Chief Executive Officer of the Centre for the Promotion of Private Enterprise, Dr Muda Yusuf, explained that the current devaluation of the naira at over N800 to a dollar would take its toll on the budget deficit of the country.
“In this regard, it will affect the deficit. If we have depreciation in the currency, there will be a variation. So, we are likely to see contract variations by contractors. In some contractual agreements, there’s always a variation clause, such that if cost changes or some fundamental variables change, the cost of the contracts will change.
“So, the cost of government projects will increase. Operational costs will increase, just as it affects everybody because the depreciation of the currency has an effect on inflation.
“The main effects will be inflationary and if there is no adjustment to accommodate that increase, projects will not be completed because the value of the naira has been further eroded.”
Meanwhile, a senior lecturer and economist at Pan Atlantic University, Vincent Olusegun, emphasised that the Federal Government was turning deaf ears to the reality of the naira devaluation.
He said, “In Nigeria, the exchange rate is not a floated one, it is one we have fixed ourselves and not market-determined. So, the government is living in denial that as the naira depreciates every day, they can maintain the exchange rate.
“Also, the exchange rate regime in the country is not market-driven because the government can fix N400 plus to a dollar which is what we are doing. In reality, the ability of the government to meet up with the budget is becoming unrealistic because the purchasing capacity has been reduced heavily.’’
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CBN increases interest rate to 18.50%
The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has again increased the monetary policy rate (MPR) by 0.50 per cent to 18.50 per cent.
The Governor of the CBN, Mr Godwin Emefiele, announced this interest rate hike on Wednesday while addressing newsmen in Abuja.
He said members of the team agreed to raise the benchmark interest rate to curb inflation.
The CBN governor said the committee considered a perennial scarcity of Premium Motor Spirit known as petrol, the 2023 general elections, continuous rise in energy prices, exchange rate pressure as well as continuous rise in insecurity.
He said committee members noted that the naira redesign has huge moderating factors to price development on cash.
Announcing the committee’s decision, Emefiele said, “MPC was of the view that although the inflation rate moderated marginally in December, the economy remained confronted with the risk of high inflation with adverse consequences on the general standards of living.
“Committee, therefore, decided to sustain the current stance of policy at this point in time to further rein in inflation aggressively.
“MPC voted to raise the MPR to 17.5%, retain the asymmetric at +100/-700 basis points around the corridor.”
$21bn revenue, 100,000 jobs coming from our refinery — Aliko Dangote
Amid encomiums from eminent personalities, including President Muhammadu Buhari and presidents of five other African countries, founder and President of Dangote Group, Alhaji Aliko Dangote, yesterday expressed optimism that the newly commissioned 650,000pbd refinery would employ over 100,000 Nigerian youths and generate over $21 billion in revenue.
According to him, this will save the country huge forex that would have been spent on fuel importation.
He also disclosed that the first products from the refinery would hit the market towards the end of July this year, adding that the refinery currently has over 33,000 employees.
Speaking at the inauguration of the Refinery by President Buhari at Ibeju-Lekki, Lagos, Dangote said its products “will be in the market before the end of July.’’
He said: “Beyond today’s ceremony, our first goal is to ramp up production of the various products to ensure that within this year, we’re able to fully satisfy our nation’s demand for higher quality products.”
According to him, the accomplishment is to enable Nigeria to eliminate what he described as the tragedy of import dependency and stop “once and for all” toxic, sub-standard petroleum products from being dumped in Nigeria’s market.
“Beyond this, we intend to ensure that our plants are run at the highest capacity of utilisation and the highest efficiency to enable us to export competitively to other markets, especially in the Economic Community of West African States, ECOWAS and wider regions in which 53 countries of 55 are dependent on imports to meet their petroleum products’ demand,” he added.
The billionaire businessman said the project was the realisation of a “clear opportunity” for Nigeria, citing the African Union’s commitment to the creation of an African common market through the African Continental Free Trade Area, AfCFTA.
The facility is expected to produce Premium Motor Spirit (petrol), diesel (Automotive Gas Oil), aviation jet fuel and Dual-Purpose Kerosene (DPK), among other refined products.
Dangote Refinery, a game changer — BUHARI
Also speaking on the occasion attended by Presidents of Ghana, Togo, Niger, Senegal and a representative of the President of Chad, President Buhari, who commended Alhaji Dangote’s leadership in executing the plant, urged other entrepreneurs to emulate his example in driving economic growth and realizing Nigeria’s economic potential.
He stressed the need for African countries to come together, integrate their economies, eliminate trade barriers, and rally their populations to achieve Agenda 2063 for the continent’s prosperity.
He said: “I urge and encourage our other great entrepreneurs to emulate this iconic Nigerian industrialist and join the government in accelerating our growth in order to realize our country’s globally recognized economic potential.
“When I travel around Africa and meet and engage my brother Heads of State (and I am delighted some of the Excellencies are here) I often sense a quiet expectation that our country is blessed with resources and human capacity to lead Africa’s rise to economic prosperity and the attainment of Agenda 2063 – ‘The Africa We All Want.’
“But to achieve the goals of Agenda 2063, Africa must come together, we must integrate our economies, eliminate barriers to trade and energize our youthful population to scale up our productive capacity.
“We must create necessary conditions for our private sector to grow and partner with the public sector to accelerate economic growth across the continent. We must not allow outside powers to use some of our leaders to destabilize our economic and political trajectory.”
President Buhari acknowledged the visionary investments made by the Dangote Group, under the leadership of Alhaji Dangote, in transforming Nigeria’s economy through its involvement in critical industries such as cement and fertilizer.
He noted that investment in these sectors had played a crucial role in shifting Nigeria from heavy import dependence to becoming a net exporter.
He also acknowledged that Nigeria’s economy had faced significant challenges over the years, including deficits in economic infrastructure, insurgency, and external crises, such as the global financial crisis, oil price collapses, the COVID-19 pandemic, and the Russia-Ukraine war.
“The consequence of these challenges constitutes a severe strain on our economy, limiting the government’s ability to provide basic infrastructure without resorting to huge borrowings.
“Our government, therefore, took the decision to focus attention on creating an enabling environment for the private sector to thrive and fill the enormous gap in investments not only in infrastructure but also in all critical sectors.
“We recognize that without the active participation of the private sector and a strong commitment to a public-private partnership, our economy would continue to remain severely challenged and our economic growth impeded,’’ Buhari said.
In their respective goodwill messages, Presidents of Ghana, Senegal, Niger, Benin Republic and Chad expressed satisfaction that the Dangote Refinery would serve the West African region.
They added that their countries would be beneficiaries, saying the Dangote Refinery is an African company for Africa by an African entrepreneur.
Refinery presents many benefits to Nigeria — Emefiele
Also speaking, the governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, Godwin Emefiele, noted that the take-off of the Dangote Refinery and Petrochemical factories comes with numerous economic benefits to Nigeria.
He said: Your Excellencies, we have it on good authority that the Dangote Group has paid down some portion of the commercial loans, even before the commissioning of this facility. As of today, the total outstanding stands at $2.7 billion.
‘’This reflects the astute creditworthiness and commercial capability of the Group and its Chairman, Alhaji Aliko Dangote. Your Excellencies, please permit me at this juncture to appreciate all the participating local Nigerian banks, who did not only partner with the project through effective financing but were keenly aware of the importance of the project to our nation.
“They provided immense support and exceptional understanding, even when interest payments and principal repayment had fallen due. Mr President, I must thank you for your astute vision to ensure that Nigeria produces what we consume and that we consume what we produce.
“This refinery and petrochemical project is a testament to your vision for Nigeria. It shows that, regardless of what the world thinks, Nigeria can be self-sufficient in all products that we consume and at the same time export our excess output to the rest of the world. Please permit me to recall the events leading to Nigeria’s eviction from the JP Morgan index in 2017, following their pessimism on Nigeria’s economic outlook and our ability to take charge of our fortunes.
“At that time, we had explained the ongoing efforts to diversify our economic base, through import substitution and export promotion strategies, to sustainably attain self-sufficiency. They were very sceptical, saying Nigeria typically crafts brilliant policies that could engender diversification but lacks the ability to fully implement them.
“Even when we insisted that, under the leadership of President Muhammadu Buhari, ongoing efforts will be actively implemented to diversify the economy and make the country globally competitive, they still doubted us.
“Aside from enumerating our strategic efforts in agriculture and other critical sectors, a sterling project that we highlighted to our foreign investor community was this gigantic Dangote Refinery and Petrochemical project.
‘’Your Excellencies, they doubted our willpower to succeed with this project. In hindsight, I could appreciate their scepticism because they do not understand how a single individual could build a refinery capable of serving an entire nation and continent.
‘’To them, projects of this magnitude are usually only undertaken by sovereigns, not individuals. But like Nelson Mandela once famously said, “It always seems impossible until it is done.”
“Today, it is with extreme delight that I say that President Mandela’s quote has come true for us. The impossible has today become possible. I am glad that we never doubted ourselves.
Nigeria to cease importing petroleum products
“Under President Muhammadu Buhari’s leadership, this seemingly unattainable project has berthed and, correspondingly, under the incoming administration of President Bola Tinubu, Nigeria will cease importing petroleum products, fertilizer and petrochemicals that drained over US$26 billion in FOREX in 2022.
“In the first instance, this refinery will have an enormous impact on job creation by generating thousands of direct jobs and millions of indirect jobs, with over 135,000 permanent jobs.
‘’I understand that so far, there are nearly 4,000 Nigerian personnel on site, excluding employment by the various contractors and sub-contractors at the project site.
“I am also proud to state that the project will generate up to 12,000 megawatts, MW of electricity. In addition, the refinery and the other ancillary projects will have significant multiplier effects on other sectors of the economy by supporting a diverse range of sectoral value chains.
“For instance, the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry noted that the project could spur ‘further growth and development across its value-chain, including cosmetics, plastics, and textiles, while strengthening value addition in agribusiness, including the sugar backward integration projects that plan to create a strong localised supply in the sugar industry, benefiting local suppliers across the sugar value-chain.
‘’More importantly, this project avails Nigeria with significant savings both in terms of foreign exchange and in easing the fiscal burden on the Federal Government.
“Available data at the Central Bank of Nigeria as of 2014, shows that at least 30 per cent of the foreign exchange required to meet Nigeria’s import needs went into the importation of refined petroleum products.
‘’It is instructive to note, distinguished guests, that according to the balance of payments statistics, the cost (including freight) of petroleum products imports into Nigeria doubled over a five-year period from about US$8.4 billion in 2017 to US$16.2 billion (indicating an annual average of US$11.1 billion), before rising further to US$23.3 billion by end-2022.
“At this rate, the average annual cost of petroleum products imports to Nigeria could reach US$30 billion by 2027 if we continued to rely on petroleum imports.
‘’These figures suggest that the refinery could engender foreign exchange savings to the country, of between US$25 billion and US$30 billion.’’
Our investment in Dangote Refinery strategic — Kyari
In his remarks, the Group Chief Executive Officer, Nigeria National Petroleum Company Limited, NNPCL, Mele Kyari, stated that the refinery offered opportunities for efficiency and healthy competition.
He explained that NNPC will continue to support production in the sector as opposed to importation, describing Dangote Refinery as a new deal that will surely provide domestic security in the industry. He also stated that NNPC investment in Dangote Refinery is strategic and in good order to ensure a regular supply of petroleum products in Nigeria.
Similarly, the governor of Lagos State, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, commended Dangote for siting the refinery in Lagos, adding that “the project provides enormous opportunities for Nigerian youths.”
He said: “In Lagos, we will continue to provide opportunities to investors. Other investors should emulate Dangote. We need to replicate the likes of Dangote in Nigeria.”
Dignitaries in attendance
Dignitaries at the event included the President of Ghana, Togo, Niger Republic, Senegal and a representative of the President of Chad; President-elect, Bola Tinubu, was represented by Vice President-elect, Kashim Shetima; Ahmed Lawan, Senate President, and Ibrahim Wase, Deputy Speaker, House of Representatives.
State governors who attended the commissioning are Aminu Tambuwal of Sokoto, Dapo Abiodun of Ogun, Umar Ganduje of Kano, Babagana Zulum of Bornu, Nasir el-Rufai of Kaduna and Abdullahi Sule of Nasarawa.
Also present were the immediate past governor of Ekiti State, Kayode Fayemi, former governor of Cross River State, Donald Duke and his counterpart in Delta State, James Ibori. The presidential candidate of the Labour Party in the 2023 elections, Peter Obi, governor-elect of Enugu State, Peter Mba, his counterpart in Abia State, Alex Otti, and the Ooni of Ife also graced the occasion.
Some captains of industry at the ceremony included the Chairman of Zenith Bank Group, Jim Ovia, Femi Otedola of Geregu Power Plant, Tony Elumelu of UBA, and Wale Tinubu, of Oando, among others.
Dangote Refinery opens, eyes crude from three continents
As the Dangote Refinery begins operations on Monday (today), the 650,000 barrels per day oil processing facility has been designed to process crude oil grades from the three continents of Africa, Asia and America.
It was also gathered that the refinery would deliver a surplus of about 38 million litres of petrol, diesel, kerosene and aviation fuel for Nigeria daily, hence it would meet the 100 per cent fuel supply requirement of the country.
Data in a document obtained from the company, on Sunday, showed that the Dangote Refinery could support the establishment of 26,716 fillings stations, create 100,000 direct and indirect jobs, and provide a $21bn market for Nigerian crude oil annually.
Early this month, The PUNCH reported that the Dangote Refinery, established by Africa’s richest man, Aliko Dangote, is scheduled to be inaugurated on May 22.
A presidential aide, Bashir Ahmad, had tweeted that the inauguration would be done by the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.).
“Efforts by the Federal Government to make Nigeria self-sufficient in local refining of crude oil to save the scarce foreign exchange used in the importation of petroleum products have received a boost as the 650,000 barrels per day Dangote Refinery, the world’s largest single-train refinery, is set for inauguration on May 22nd, 2023, by President Muhammadu Buhari,” Ahmad announced.
The Dangote Petroleum Refinery and Petrochemical Project, a subsidiary of Dangote Industries Limited, is a 650,000 barrels per day crude oil refinery, located in Dangote Industries Free Zone, Ibeju-Lekki, Lagos, Nigeria.
The Dangote Petroleum Refinery is an industrial plant that transforms crude oil into various usable petroleum products such as diesel, gasoline, jet fuel and kerosene.
Dangote Petroleum Refinery with a capacity to refine 650,000 barrels of crude oil per day covers an area of approximately 2,635 hectares in the Lekki Free Trade Zone in Lagos.
The refinery will produce Euro-V quality gasoline and diesel, as well as jet fuel and polypropylene.
The firm stated that the facility was “designed to process a large variety of crudes including many of the African crudes, some of the Middle Eastern crudes and the US (United States) Light Tight Oil.”
On the target market and petroleum sufficiency, it stated that the refinery could meet 100 per cent of the Nigerian requirement of all liquid products, including gasoline (petrol), diesel, kerosene and aviation jet, and would also have a surplus of each of these products for export.
“The refinery is designed to use the latest technology to comply with stringent guidelines and regulations to protect the local environment, and at the same time produce the latest environmentally friendly petroleum products for worldwide markets,” the document from the firm stated.
On fuel requirements in Nigeria and supply from the refinery, the document showed that the facility would produce a daily surplus of 38 million litres of petrol, kerosene, aviation fuel and diesel.
It stated that the refinery would produce a surplus of about 20 million litres of petrol daily, a surplus of one million litres of kerosene daily, a surplus of one million litres of JetA1 daily, and a surplus of 16 million litres of diesel daily.
For product evaluation, the refinery’s dispatch facilities by road (tanker) for the product (gasoline, diesel, kerosene/jet fuel, propane and slurry) is up to 80 per cent of the total production and up to 75 per cent through marine facilities.
It has a year-round operation for road loading operation, with a total of 177 tank farms with a capacity of 4.74 billion litres, and a total tanker loading of 2,900. “This number is based on a tanker capacity of 33 KL,” the firm stated.
It explained that the Dangote Refinery project was particularly complex, featuring engineering, procurement, construction, pre-commissioning, and related storage facilities, all located in the Dangote Industries Free Zone Area of Ibeju-Lekki, Lagos.
“Dangote is one of the few companies in the world executing a petroleum refinery and a petrochemical complex directly as an Engineering, Procurement, and Construction contractor. Globally, apart from three companies, no individual owner has done the complete EPC contract for a petroleum refinery,” it stated.
The document further pointed out that the total number of temporary housing in the premises was for 33,000 people.
The refinery has its own dedicated steam and power generation system with adequate standby units for reliable/uninterrupted utility supply to operating plants. The power plant has a capacity of 435MW.
For the roll-on/roll-off quay, the document stated that Dangote Industries had developed a port and constructed quays with a load-bearing capacity of 25 tonnes/sq-meter to bring Over Dimensional Cargoes close to the site directly to handle liquid cargoes.
It stated that the jetty was situated at a distance of 12.3km from the refinery thereby effectively reducing the travel time, adding that there were over 1,029 trucks to improve the capacity of the local logistics.
On employment generation, the firm stated that the facility had a capacity of generating over 100,000 indirect employment at retail outlets, 26,716 filling stations and 129 depots in Nigeria, ease of availability of products by helping to open up service stations, and 16,000 trucks for transport that would create additional jobs.
It stated that over 30,000 were currently working at the petroleum refinery project site, through various contractors.
“When operational, the petroleum refinery is going to generate over 100,000 direct and indirect jobs for Nigerian youths,” the firm stated.
Buttressing on other forms of investments in the facility, the document stated that 70 per cent of the site was swamp and the land had to be reclaimed.
It stated that 65 million cubic metres of sand filling, costing approximately 300m euro, was invested to elevate the height of the plant by 1.5 metres, and to insure against any potential impact of the increase in mean sea level due to global warming.
For civil construction, it stated that “we bought over 1,209 pieces of equipment to enhance the local capacity for site works since even Julius Berger, Dantata & Sawoe, Hi-Tech, etc, are unable to handle some portions of our construction requirement.
“In mechanical construction, we bought 332 cranes to build up equipment installation capacity since the current capacity in Nigeria is extremely poor.”
Refinery triggers excitement
The Abuja Chamber of Commerce and Industry recently stated that it was delighted to celebrate the momentous achievement of Aliko Dangote, the Chairman of Dangote Refinery, for investing in the development of the largest refinery in Africa.
“The Dangote Refinery, located in the Lekki Free Trade Zone in Lagos State, is set to revolutionise the Nigerian oil and gas industry. The refinery, which will have a refining capacity of 650,000 barrels per day, will not only produce high-quality gasoline and diesel, but also petrochemicals and aviation fuel.
“ACCI recognises the importance of this investment in creating new jobs, improving Nigeria’s economy, and boosting the country’s oil and gas industry. This investment is expected to attract foreign capital and significantly reduce Nigeria’s reliance on oil imports,” the chamber stated.
The President, ACCI, Al-Mujtaba Abubakar, applauded Dangote’s vision and commitment to transforming the Nigerian economy, adding that the investment was a game-changer for the Nigerian oil and gas sector and a testament to Aliko Dangote’s unwavering determination to create sustainable value for Nigeria and Africa.
“The Dangote Refinery is also expected to provide a platform for technological and industrial development, with the promotion of local content in the oil and gas industry.
“The Abuja Chamber of Commerce commends this outstanding achievement and encourages other entrepreneurs to follow his lead in investing in Nigeria,” the ACCI stated in a statement.
Industry operators speak
The National President, Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria, Chinedu Okonkwo, said the refinery would not only create jobs, but would reduce the cost of deregulated petrol.
Okonkwo, who spoke with our correspondent in a recent interview, said, “That refinery is going to create further hope for this nation. It will create a lot of jobs and ensure availability of products. The time spent in importing petroleum products will be eliminated and Nigeria will gain a lot from it, moving forward,” he stated.
On whether the facility would have an impact on petroleum products’ prices, Okonkwo said, “Dangote is a private businessman who is out to make money. But one thing is that if the petroleum business is deregulated, the products will be cheaper.
“This is because the cost of freight, carrying the crude and refining it and bringing it back as refined products, will be addressed and that value alone will be an advantage for the country.”
When probed further to explain whether this implied that petrol would be cheaper once deregulated and the refinery starts producing, the IPMAN president replied, “Yes, at least it will reduce the stress around availability and affordability.”
Okonkwo encouraged oil marketers to support the Dangote Refinery, noting that the facility would not only attract more revenue to operators, but would serve for the betterment of all Nigerians.
“It is our own because what is needed mostly by my members is the availability of products so that as we make a living from the business of selling petrol, it will help everybody in the system,” Okoronkwo stated.
Also commenting on the issue, the National Public Relations Officer, IPMAN, Chief Ukadike Chinedu, said oil marketers were optimistic and excited to know that the refinery was set for inauguration.
He said operators were hopeful that the facility would eradicate cases of poor petroleum product supply, which often led to incessant scarcity of Premium Motor Spirit, popularly called petrol, across the country.
“With the coming onboard of the Dangote Refinery, we believe that Nigeria will say goodbye to PMS scarcity, as well as the poor supply of other petroleum products,” Ukadike stated.
Buhari, others attend
In a statement from the oil firm, on Sunday, it stated that President Muhammadu Buhari, alongside his counterparts from Ghana, Togo, Senegal, Niger and Chad would inaugurate multi-billion dollar refinery.
It stated that those expected at the historic event, apart from international dignitaries, include the Presidents of Togo, Gnassingbé Eyadéma; Ghana, Nana Akufo-Addo; Senegal, Macky Sall; Niger Republic, Mohamed Bazoum, Chad, Mahamat Déby and a host of ambassadors.
It stated that President Paul Kagame of Rwanda, who would not be physically present, would, however, present his goodwill message virtually.
All 36 state governors and most of the governors-elect, ministers, senators, and captains of industries in Nigeria and others from outside the country have indicated interest to attend, according to the statement.
It further stated that global oil traders, top international bankers, international multilateral agencies had also indicated their readiness to grace the ceremony.
Nigeria’s President-Elect, Bola Tinubu, whose administration, while he was the Governor of Lagos State in 2002 floated the Free Trade Zone in Ibeju-Lekki where the refinery is located, is also expected to be at the event.
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