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Buhari, Five African Leaders Inaugurate 650,000bpd Dangote Refinery in Style

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By Mathew Dadiya, Abuja

Five African Heads of State, yesterday joined President Muhammadu Buhari, to inaugurate Dangote Petroleum Refinery in Ibeju-Lekki, Lagos with a refining capacity of 650,000 barrels per day, which is expected to enable Nigeria to achieve self-sufficiency in refined products and even have a surplus for export.

The African leaders, who attended the inauguration ceremony, were Nana Akufo-Addo of Ghana, Faure Gnassingbe of Togo, Mohamed Bazoum of Niger, Macky Sall of Senegal and a representative of the President of Chad.

Speaking at the event, President Buhari described the feat as a significant milestone for Nigeria’s economy and a game changer for the downstream petroleum products market in the entire African region.

“This mega industry we are commissioning today is a clear example of what can be achieved when entrepreneurs are encouraged and supported and when an enabling environment is created for investments and for businesses to thrive.

“I am confident that my successor, His Excellency Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, will sustain the improvement in our economic and business environment and strengthen the framework of our public-private partnership policies to accelerate the pace of our economic growth and development.

“I am happy to leave our economy in very competent hands,” he said.

Buhari who commended Aliko Dangote’s leadership in executing the 650,000 barrels per day refinery 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.

“I urge and encourage our other great entrepreneurs to emulate this iconic Nigerian industrialist and join the Government in accelerating our growth 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 their Excellences 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 trade barriers and energize our youthful population to scale up our production 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,” he said.

Buhari acknowledged the visionary investments made by the Dangote Group, under the leadership of Dangote, in transforming Nigeria’s economy through its involvement in critical industries such as cement and fertilizer.

He noted that investment in these sectors has played a crucial role in shifting Nigeria from heavy import dependence to becoming a net exporter.

Buhari acknowledged that Nigeria’s economy has 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 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 public-private partnership, our economy would continue to remain severely challenged and our economic growth impeded.

“Government, therefore, will and should continue to provide an enabling environment and encourage innovative public-private partnerships in all sectors of our economy,” Buhari said.

The President emphasized the administration’s commitment to this approach, citing Executive Order 007 of 2019 which facilitated the rehabilitation/construction of many roads by private sector investors using a Tax-credit scheme.

“It is my hope that the succeeding Administration will continue to apply such innovative schemes in partnership with the private sector to accelerate the provision of critical infrastructure in particular roads, power and gas pipelines,” he added.

Aliko Dangote emphasised the refinery’s role in fulfilling the group’s corporate vision of promoting self-sufficiency and global competitiveness.

“We have built a Refinery with a capacity to process 650,000 barrels per day (plus 900,000 tonnes of polypropylene) in a single train – which is the largest in the world. We have selected the best plants and equipment and the latest technologies from across the world.

“Our products slate is designed to meet the highest quality standards and high-value products including Premium Motor Spirit (PMS), Automotive Gas Oil (Diesel), Aviation Turbine Kerosine (ATK); all of Euro V Standards that will enable us not only meet our Country’s demand but also to become a key player in the African and global market.

“Our coastal location and offshore loading and offloading (SPM) facilities with a capacity to receive all our crude oil supplies and evacuate up to 75% of our liquid products give us direct access to the rest of Africa and the global market for exports. In addition, 80 percent of  our production can be discharged through trucks nationwide.”

He disclosed that the huge investment of over $18.5billion in this industry was prompted by the company’s desire to support and contribute its quota to the Federal Government’s sustained effort to transform the economy and reposition Nigeria as the leading nation in Africa, and a respected member among emerging economies in the world.

According to him, apart from ensuring a consistent supply of high-quality fuels for the transportation sector, the refinery will provide essential raw materials to a wide range of manufacturing sectors, including plastics, pharmaceuticals, food and beverages, packaging, construction, and more.

He further stated that the refinery’s operation and related businesses would generate a substantial number of job opportunities, while the downstream supply and distribution of its products would significantly contribute to the absorption of labor, potentially benefiting hundreds of thousands of individuals.

“’Once our plant is fully on stream, we expect that at least 40% of the capacity will be available for export and this will result in significant Foreign Exchange inflows into the country.

Overall, we are committed to operating our Plant in line with international best practice requirements, recognizing the importance of protecting the environment, and putting in place stringent environmental, health, and safety policies to ensure that the Refinery operates in a safe and sustainable manner,” he said.

 Facts You Need to Know About the Refinery.

The Dangote Refinery and Petrochical  Company Limited commissioned yesterday with fanfare by President  Muhammadu  Buhari  is the largest single Train  refinery in the World. It has 650,00bpd refinery capacity and was built at the total cost of about  $18.5bn.

Out of the amount, Dangote contributed $9bn equity, while the balance was provided by a consortium of Nigerian banks and Africa Export  Import ( AFREXIM) bank under various lending terms 

It is situated on  2,635 hectaresof land, an area said to be seven times bigger than the size of Victoria Island part of Lagos.
Before Commencement  of construction, the company  dredged 65m cubic meters of sand at a cost of 300million euros.

The complex has a 435MW Power plant, with a 10m ton per year Granite quarry. The refinery completed its own port with two quays  both with a load bearing capacity of 25tons/sqm and has potential to be increased to 6. It also has  177 tanks with a bearing capacity of 4.7b litres. Dangote Group purchased  332 cranes for the project, which were used for loading, off loading and installations at the complex.

The construction phase involved 150,000 local technicians/engineers, 200 Nigerian contractors directly while the operational phase will employ over 30,000 directly  excluding at least  45 service contractors from different fields.
The .construction entailed the use of 3,000KM pipeline  network
while over 2,700 installations took place.
The Complex has a housing estate that could accommodate 40,000 staff according to the Central Bank of Nigeria(CBN), could generate up $11bn in foreign exchange annually and could  stabilise  the nation’s foreign exchange  system..
The refinery hopes to supply 100 per cent of the fuel needs of Nigeria  and targets 40 per cent of its production for exports.
By its conception, the refinery  refine all crude types from Africa, Asia and America. 

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CGC Raises Concerns, as Customs Intercepts Cannabis, Codeine Worth N4.1b

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From Anthony Nwachukwu, Lagos

The Comptroller-General of Customs, Adewale Adeniyi, has warned of the severe and devastating effects of the growing misuse and abuse of drugs on the youth and the society at large, as the agency intercepted cannabis indica and codeine worth N4.

1 billion.

Adeniyi spoke in Lagos over the weekend while showcasing the unwholesome imports comprising 1x40ft container of regulated, unregistered pharmaceuticals and another 1x40ft container of illicit psychotropic substances intercepted by the Tin Can Command of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS).

He disclosed that one of the 1x40ft containers No. GAOU 669921/5 imported from Canada, with approximate street value of N3.

216 billion, concealed three plastic drums with several packets of cannabis indica and 46bags of 2,144 packets of cannabis indica – all weighing 1,072kg.

The other contained 877 cartons of Barcadin cough syrup with codeine (200 bottles of 100ml per carton), and 82 cartons of Really Extra Diclofenac Sodium 50mg tablets (600 packs per carton) from India. The approximate street value of the cough syrup is N964.340 million.

According to him, the agency has made concerted efforts to prevent illegal entry and exit through diverse routes and means of conveyances, leading to a number of successfully executed interceptions and seizures of illicit drugs, arms and ammunition, illegal wildlife and petroleum products at various locations in recent months.

However, “these interceptions have brought to light a concerning trend wherein criminal networks engage in collaborative attempts to subvert the competency of the agencies tasked with mitigating the trafficking of such illicit substances,” he noted.

 “The misuse and abuse of drugs, particularly cannabis indica and codeine, pose severe dangers to our society. Codeine, a restricted drug in Nigeria, has been widely abused, leading to devastating effects on our youth.

 “This substance not only impairs the health and well-being of individuals but also contributes to the rise in criminal activities.  Cannabis indica, similarly, has become a significant concern, with its abuse leading to mental health issues, addiction, and social problems.

 “Unchecked activities involving restricted items serve multiple purposes for criminal elements. These drugs, for instance, are used as stimulants by criminals, further fueling societal unrest and instability.

 “Additionally, the proceeds from the illicit drug trade are often used to finance disruptions by non-state actors, posing a significant threat to our national security and economic stability.”

Nevertheless, Adeniyi noted that within its mandate of obstructing harmful and illegal substances from Nigerian communities, the NCS “will continue to work closely with relevant national and international agencies to conduct operations that lead to the interception of illegal goods and the disruption of criminal networks.

He disclosed that investigations were ongoing to bring perpetrators to book, while warning those engaging in illicit activities of the NCS’ unwavering vigilance and dedication to protecting the society and ensuring that all Nigerians benefit from a stable and prosperous economy.

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Investing in Davido, Meme Coins Highly Risky – SEC

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By Tony Obiechina, Abuja

The Security and Exchange Commission has warned that investing in meme coins, including $Davido, is highly risky and should be done with a full understanding of the associated risk.

According to the Commission in a Circular, “The attention of the Securities and Exchange Commission, Nigeria (“SEC”) has been drawn to a meme coin known as “$Davido” allegedly linked to the popular Nigerian singer, David Adedeji Adeleke AKA Davido.

“Generally, meme coins are crypto-currencies inspired by memes and internet jokes. They are often envisaged as fun, light-hearted crypto-currencies promoted through a social media community and sometimes through celebrity endorsements”.

The SEC further stated that Meme coins are also NOT intended to serve as a medium of exchange accepted by the public as payment for goods and services, or as digital representation of capital market products such as shares, debentures, units of collective investment schemes, derivatives contracts, commodities or other kinds of financial instruments or investments.

The Commission therefore advised the general public that meme coins lack fundamental value and are purely speculative.

“The general public is further WARNED that investing in meme coins, including $Davido, is highly risky and should be done with a full understanding of the associated risk.

“Capital Market Operators are by this Notice warned not to associate with instruments that fall outside the SEC’s regulatory purview. Such instruments should not in any manner be distributed or monitored through any capital market mechanism”.

The SEC also emphasised that the Commission does not recognize $Davido as an investment product or investable asset class under its regulatory purview, as such individuals who patronize it, do so at their peril.

“The Commission will continue to monitor developments within the ecosystem and will not relent in deploying its regulatory powers as and when required” , the circular added.

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Blue Economy Targets Top Spot in PEBEC – Oyetola

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From Anthony Nwachukwu, Lagos

Mindful of the sector’s critical role in economic diversification and sustainable development, the Ministry of Marine and Blue Economy aims to place Nigeria tops in the Presidential Enabling Business Environment Council (PEBEC) by achieving ease of doing business and fostering a conducive environment for trade and investment.

To this end, the Minister, Adegboyega Oyetola, said the ministry plans to elevate Nigeria’s maritime sector to global standards and has prioritised the implementation of the national single window and port community system to automate port processes, in order to enhance operational efficiency and attract investments.

Oyetola, who spoke at the BusinessDay Maritime Conference in Lagos Thursday, disclosed that the ministry has already reported significant progress in revenue generation, driven by innovative strategies to block revenue leakages and explore new sources within the marine and blue economy sector.

Others include ongoing efforts to upgrade infrastructure, such as the development of inland dry ports and modernisation projects at key ports across the country, while public-private partnerships (PPPs) in advancing port modernisation, dredging activities and deploying cutting-edge maritime technologies remain important.

He further announced plans for the development of additional deep-sea ports on a PPP basis to further bolster Nigeria’s maritime capabilities.

Acknowledging the significant contributions of participants in shaping the discourse in Nigeria’s marine and blue economy, Oyetola expressed hope that insights from the conference would drive positive transformations and propel Nigeria towards greater economic prosperity through the harnessing of its vast maritime resources.

He restated his commitment to developing a dynamic national policy framework for the sector by the end of the year, while urging all stakeholders to continue working together towards realising the sector’s full potential, ensuring sustainable growth and inclusive development across coastal communities.

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