Africa’s richest man, Aliko Dangote, said that he chose to site his ambitious refinery, petrochemical, gas and fertiliser project in Lagos because the state is an investor-friendly place.
The chairman of the Dangote Group on Saturday took vice president Yemi Osinbajo; Lagos governor Akinwunmi Ambode; ministers of power, works and housing (Babatunde Fashola); Finance (Kemi Adeosun); Inductry, trade and investment; (Okechukwu Enelamah); and solid minerals development (Kayode Fayemi), on a tour of the project site at the Lekki Free Trade zone in Lagos.
“Lagos is one State that is very investor friendly and the Governor himself has always been asking what are the issues and he normally puts in place steps to resolve those issues immediately,” Dangote said.
The petrochemical project, according to the Dangote Group, will be completed in 2017, the gas project in 2018 and the refinery project in 2019. In addition to the jobs which the projects are expected to create, Dangote said that the Gas Pipeline Project would guarantee uninterrupted power supply in Lagos and attract other investors into the state.
“Our target is that in the next five years or so from now,” Dangote said, “Half of Nigeria’s crude will be refined and exported rather than just exporting crude to go and create jobs elsewhere.”
Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, who went round the entire Lekki Free Trade Zone, said the project is the largest and most ambitious in Africa. He said that the Gas Project upon completion has the capacity to produce about three billion cubic feet of gas daily, which would permanently address the two billion cubic feet daily gas required to power the country. “This is incredible if that can be done because it would be a major strategic asset for Nigeria, It would boost our power supply tremendously,” the Vice President said.
Governor Akinwunmi Ambode expressed excitement over the ripple and multiplier effects which the project is expected to have on the economy of Lagos. He promised to support the projects and ensure their timely completion.
“The coming of the Vice President to inspect this project is instructive and a sign post that the Federal Government is in support of what is going on us and the truth is this, we might not be able to show you all that is going on here but in another few weeks, we will do an aerial view of this project and also do a documentary,” he said.
Ambode added that apart from the 135,000 direct jobs that will be created from the projects, another 100,000 indirect jobs would be generated while income accruable to the Federal Government would be in the region of over $500million in three years.
“It is important that we understand the debt of what has happened here and also use it as a platform to encourage other investors that Lagos is on the rise and the future of Lagos is very bright,” the Governor said.