By Levinus Nwabughiogu, Monsur Olowoopeju & Ediri Ejoh
ABUJA— President of Togo Republic, Faure Gnassingbe, yesterday, lauded the investment drive of Aliko Dangote across the Africa, describing him as a man with a mission to aggressively transform African economy.
This came as President Muhammadu Buhari said, yesterday, that Nigeria was stepping up measures to explore more gas, not only for local consumption but also for exportation.
Speaking during the tour of the Dangote Refinery project in Lagos, Gnassingbe said Dangote was a worthy son of Africa, who had chosen to buoy the economic activities of the continent with his investments.
“Aliko Dangote is our pride in Africa and his aggressive investment drive towards developing the economies of the continent should be lauded,” he said.
While welcoming the Togolese President to Lagos State and Dangote Refinery and Fertilizer projects, Governor Akinwunmi Ambode of Lagos State said the refinery and fertilizer projects would change the face of Lagos State and Nigeria, once it was completed.
According to him, “I understand your interest in the progress of this project, Mr President. This investment is one of the biggest in Africa today and it will have a huge impact not only on the economy of Nigeria but also of West Africa when completed. Apart from creating jobs, this refinery will also contribute immensely to solving the fuel supply challenge in West Africa.”
While seeking collaboration with the Togolese government and investors, Ambode lauded Aliko Dangote and thanked him for his confidence in the Lagos economy.
Projects to cost $17bn—Dangote
Thanking the President of Togo for coming to see the progress of the projects, Dangote revealed that the projects would cost a minimum of $17 billion.
Dangote said the $12 billion refinery would have a capacity for 650,000 barrels a day. He assured that there would be market for the refined products, even in Africa, only three countries had effective functioning refineries, with others importing from abroad.
Dangote named the countries with refineries as Egypt, South Africa and Cote d’Ivoire, saying: “Our refinery will be ready in the first quarter of 2019. Mechanical completion will be end of 2018 but we will start producing in 2019.”
When the projects fully take off in 2019, Dangote said it would help the country save $5 billion spent on the importation of petroleum products into the country.
Nigeria to convert gas for export —Buhari
Meanwhile, President Buhari has said Nigeria was stepping up measures to explore more gas for not only local consumption but also for exportation.
This came on a day President of Dangote Group, Alhaji Aliko Dangote, assured the Togolese government of adequate supply of gas to meet its quest for stable power supply.
President Buhari said gas was in abundance in Nigeria, noting that what needed to be done was to stabilize the environment to regularly pump more that would benefit especially countries within the African sub-region.
The President, who spoke at a joint press briefing with the visiting President of Benin Republic, Patrice Talon, who is on a one-day working visit to Nigeria at the Presidential Villa, yesterday, said: “The economic part of (our discussion), it is mainly energy, making sure that the West African Gas pipeline is made much more efficient. This government is making all the efforts it can to stabilize the situation because the resources are there.”
Talon decries economic downturn in Nigeria
Also speaking, visiting President Talon decried economic downturn in Nigeria, noting that most countries within West African were being affected by it.
He noted that Nigeria was the engine room of West Africa, challenging it to invest in non-oil resources as a way of boosting its income.
Talon also said he was in Nigeria to rejig the bilateral relationship between Benin and Nigeria, especially in the areas of trade relations, economy, energy development and education.