Protocol and Opening Pleasantries:
It is indeed my pleasure to be here today at the commissioning of this 3 million tons per annum fertilizer plant. I am delighted that a Nigerian, in person of Alhaji Aliko Dangote, has taken , not just this great initiative of helping to solve our perennial petrochemical products imports problem including fertilizer, but has also taken advantage of the emerging huge market opportunity presented by recent global developments.
President sir , in the early days of my stewardship as CBN Governor under your administration , you made your vision for our country clear to me. This vision was wrapped around the broad theme of self-introspection for local resources and self-sufficiency in local consumption. In summary your excellency , you told me that you would like to see urgent support for our farmers, small businesses, and large manufacturers so as to grow and diversify the nation’s economic base . Your excellency wanted to see a Nigeria that produced what it consumed and reduced FX expenditure on agricultural imports.
Given our unflinching believe in your vision your excellency , we immediately set out to work at the CBN. We thoroughly studied, deeply assimilated, and enthusiastically implemented this vision from Day One of your administration. It is based on the many nights and days of painstaking work in pursuit of this vision that today’s ceremony is emotional for us at the CBN.
Indeed, your excellency, the completion of this plant is a stellar example of the realization of your vision. It is only fitting, therefore, that this plant is being commissioned by Mr. President himself, the original owner and protector of this vision.
For your unparalleled leadership and timely vision, and on behalf of my grateful colleagues at the CBN, I say a heartfelt “Thank you”, Your Excellency Sir. To avoid losing momentum and backtracking on these gains, we will work hard, EVERYDAY, to protect your legacy and ensure that posterity remembers you for all you have done for our country.
Your excellencies , distinguished ladies and gentlemen, let me stress that , this fertilizer plant is timely when one considers recent developments in the global market, where prices of wheat, fertilizer and crude oil spiked by over 20 percent, following the Russia – Ukraine war.
In addition to the lessons we learnt from the protectionist actions of countries during the early days of COVID-19, this investment is again a glaring testament to the foresight and tireless efforts of Mr. President in encouraging domestic production of goods that can be produced in Nigeria, especially agriculture. This would not only help to enable greater productivity of our agricultural sector but would also help in insulating our Nigerian farmers from depending on imported fertilizer.
Prior to Mr. President assuming office in 2015, Nigeria imported virtually all its fertilizer products to support its agricultural sector.
In response to this situation, Mr. President inaugurated the Presidential Fertilizer Initiative ,chaired by Jigawa Governor, Alhaji Badaru and charged us with resolving this perennial fertilizer shortage problem in Nigeria. I am delighted to note that their work and the continued support of Mr. President has resulted in a significant increase in our nation’s blending capacity from 7 plants in 2015 to over 48 active fertilizer blending plants today. Indeed, during the past 5 years, over 35 million bags of blended fertilizer has been produced in Nigeria. Consequently, our import bill on fertilizer has not only declined significantly but we are also witnessing rising investment in the fertilizer industry, such as the one being commissioned today by the Dangote Group.
Today , Nigeria is self-sufficient in the production of urea, and we are also the leading producer of urea in the African continent. There is no doubt that improving access to fertilizer will contribute to significant improvements in the productivity of our local farmers. But probably more importantly, it will enhance our nation’s drive to improve food security and ensure we consume what we produce in Nigeria, thereby fulfilling another key promise and vision of this Administration
President, with your clear leadership, and persistent guidance, the agricultural sector has increased its performance and contribution to growth. The last GDP report by the NBS indicated that the agricultural sector accounted for about 27.0 percent of the growth, a testament to the president’s support to the sector.
Distinguished ladies and gentlemen, this Dangote fertilizer plant with an installed capacity of over 3 million metric tons per annum is a very significant feat in the diversification agenda of Mr. President. This is because it will help to increase the value chain in the petrol-chemical and allied sector, create jobs for our youths and boost our agricultural productivity. Mr President Sir, time permitting, we request you to take a tour of not only the fertilizer plant, but also the Dangote Refinery and Petrochemical Plant, which altogether is an investment of over $17.5 Billion.
At this juncture, Your Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen, I would like to thank Alhaji Aliko Dangote as well as the Board and Management of the Dangote Group for this gigantic project; meant to save Nigeria from the stress of sourcing FOREX to import these products.. I want to assure you that the Central Bank of Nigeria will continue to provide not just the conducive environment required to thrive, but providing willing investors in the fertilizer and other industries, the necessary support to make similar investments.
Before I close, let also thank the Governor of Lagos State , Mr Babajide Sanwo Olu for providing the enabling environment for this project and other businesses in Nigeria.
Finally, I want to thank Mr. President for the enormous support and encouragement given to the private sector that is helping them to contribute immensely to the growth of the economy. It is my hope that these foundations that you laid will become the permanent bedrock upon which we can continue to create an equitable and thriving economy for the good of Nigerians.
Thank you and God bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria. The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Governor, Godwin I Emefiele