By Prisca Sam-Duru
Nigeria’s billionaire business mogul, Femi Otedola has described the Dangote refinery as a remarkable project which will be a game-changer for the country.
Otedola who spoke with so much excitement after the commissioning of the refinery in Ibeju-Lekki, Lagos, expressed how enthused he was, seeing a project that began as far back as 2012, come to fruition.
His words, “This is a remarkable project. I’m excited today. Today is the happiest moment in my life to see this project come to reality. This is a project I’ve been visiting with Aliko since 2012″.He added that refining crude oil locally is what Nigeria needs at the moment as this would drastically reduce the prices of petroleum products.
According to him, the journey towards the construction of the refinery, began in 2007 when he and his friend , Aliko Dangote, “formed a consortium called Blue Star, to acquire the Port Harcourt and Kaduna refineries which for whatever reasons, was scuttled; the takeover was scuttled and Aliko said he was going to build his refinery.
“My take is, God has to use someone to do things like this. I’m not God chosen today but Aliko has done it with the special grace of God. This project will be a game changer for Nigeria. This project gives me hope that Nigeria is on the path to achieve greatness, once we sort out our little, little issues- security, etc.”
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Describing the refinery as the largest in the world, Otedola pointed out that “what that means is the cost of importing products will come down definitely. It will create local jobs, hundreds of thousands of jobs and it will stop the importation of petroleum products which to me is not the best for a country like ours that has more than enough crude oil. So, it’s appalling to see us importing petroleum products”.
He also frowned at the high cost of petroleum products in a country like Nigeria that is highly endowed with crude oil, recalling that “At some point in my life, I used to control 92% of that market. When I used to do the business, a ship load of diesel cost $22 million to import which then will translate to maybe 60 naira per litre. But it’s disheartening for me to see the price of diesel today, when I know the landing cost”, he said, stressing that “the market is being exploited. That is why, when you have few people in a business, it’s not the best for any country”.
Otedola who also spoke about the Dangote Fertilizer plant, described it as the second largest fertilizer plant in the world, noting that “What this means is Nigerians are not going to import fertilizer any more. All the billions of dollars we spend in importing fertilizer will stop”.
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