The Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Godwin Emefiele, said Monday that the President of Dangote Group, Aliko Dangote, has started repaying some commercial loans used in financing the Dangote Refinery before commissioning the plant.
Mr Emefiele disclosed this while delivering his speech during the official commissioning of the refinery.
President Muhammadu Buhari on Monday commissioned the refinery amid high expectations that it will impact the nation’s oil and gas sector and the larger economy.
The pipeline infrastructure at the refinery is said to be the largest in the world, with 1,100 kilometres and will handle 3 billion standard cubic feet of gas per day.
Mr Emefiele said “Today, our history is being rewritten, and Nigeria’s trajectory for greater growth and prosperity is enhanced as we inaugurate Africa’s largest refinery, the Dangote Refinery, alongside its Petrochemical plant.
“The CBN partnered with the Dangote Group in ensuring the successful completion of the Dangote refinery project by providing about N125 billion, to cover domestic currency requirements for the venture.”
The CBN chief explained that the bank’s intervention in the refinery project is part of the CBN’s effort to support President Muhammadu Buhari’s drive to diversify the economy.
Mr Emefiele also lauded Nigerian banks for providing financing support to the Dangote Group for its refinery project.
“What you may not be fully aware of, Your Excellencies, is that the Dangote Group has started repaying some of the commercial loans even before the commissioning of this facility.
“This reflects the commercial capability of the Group and its Chairman. I am pleased to inform everyone today that, following extensive repayments, outstanding debt has dropped appreciably from over US$9 billion to US$2.7 billion,” Mr Emefiele said.
“I must at this juncture 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 for our nation.
“They provided immense support and exceptional understanding, even when interest payments and principal repayment had fallen due,” he said.
Mr Emefiele restated the need for the nation to produce what Nigerians consume.
“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,” he said.
The apex bank governor expressed optimism that the country, under the incoming administration, will cease importing petroleum products, fertilizers and petrochemicals and save the country over US$26 billion.
“The refinery could spare Nigeria about N5 to N7 trillion annually in the fiscal expenditure of the federal government over the next five years,” he said.
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