On May 22, 2023, President Buhari will officially commission Dangote’s refinery.
The total cost of the refinery is estimated at $19 billion.
The refinery would be able to produce 650,000 oil barrels per day, with an initial rollout of 540,000 barrels per day. Also, the facility will produce 3 billion standard cubic feet of gas, 65 million liters of premium motor spirits (petrol), 15 million liters of diesel, and 4 million metric tons of jet fuel each day, or approximately 8 million tons of petroleum products annually.
The ambitious project is one that really stretched our richest man and homeboy, Aliko Dangote, to the limit, beyond his human capacity.
From scarcity of dollars to imports of items needed for the construction of the refinery to battling with COVID, which delayed the project by at least two years,
The biggest elephant in the room was running out of funds provided by lenders last year, so he had to quickly shop for $750 million, which he borrowed from the bond market using his vehicle of Dangote cement, just to see that the project was commissioned before Buhari left office.
But Dangote defied all these odds, reminding us why he is our finest and our biggest export out of Nigeria.
The dream of Aliko Dangote to own a refinery, copying and following in the footsteps of India’s second-richest man, Mukesh Ambani, who owns the biggest refinery in the world did not start today.
It has been long in coming, and it actually started in 2007, 16 years ago, when Aliko Dangote led a consortium that bought two old Nigerian refineries from the outgoing president, Obasanjo.
The plan was for Aliko and his friends to invest in the moribund, ailing refineries by giving them a new lease of life.
He paid $750 million at that time to own the two refineries in Port Harcourt and Kaduna.
But Yaradua , because of his short sight and narrow mind, decided to cancel the plan and the brilliant policy of his predecessor and the money was refunded back to Dangote.
As a people, we are yet to recover from that foolish decision and are still paying the price, up until now.
An example of how we pay the price for that not-so-well-thought-out decision is this:
Obasanjo’s plan was to get rid of fuel subsidies and then allow the private sector to manage our inefficient refineries.
But late Yaradua came and reversed the brilliant decision, and because of that, we are still paying for subsidy, subsidizing the whole of West Africa, and not only that, that dollar is 740 today to one dollar because of the inability of Yaradua to see the big vision, his broader failure to see beyond today.
If we had let go of subsidies in 2007 and then allowed Dangote to manage our refineries since 2007, Nigeria would have been richer today, and the dollar would not have been more than 250 to the dollar.
Nigerians would have been richer as well, and not many people would have given a thought to Japa.
The annoying thing there is that those refineries are scrap today, are still gulping public funds, and are not worth more than $100 million if we are to sell them today.
An example of what the World Bank means by “lost decade of the economy”
We really lost a lot, and we are poorer because of it.
Aliko Dangote is one of my favorite entrepreneurs who has earned his stripes.
He is a bold risk-taker and deserves our eternal gratitude and respect for what he has done and what he is doing.
He is the second-highest employer of labor in Nigeria today after the government, with 19.200 people on his payroll.
Just one man, oooo
When the refinery starts working at the full capacity, more people will be employed by him and it is projected that the employees under his payroll will reach 100,000 at that time.
A national icon and a hero for a reason
The Jeff Bezos and Elon Musk, combined in one person.
Congratulations, Ali Cash.