The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Governor, Mr Godwin Emefiele, has disclosed that the Dangote Refinery will be encouraged to sell foreign exchange earnings to banks at a good rate. Speaking after the 291st Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) meeting in Abuja, Emefiele stated that his team would engage with Alhaji Aliko Dangote, the promoter of the refinery, to ensure that Nigerians benefit from the venture. He noted that the CBN, the Federal Government, and the country had helped Dangote set up the refinery, adding that with local refining, the country would save about 20 per cent of the total cost of importing petroleum products, thereby reducing prices in the long run.
Emefiele expressed optimism that the refinery would ease foreign exchange scarcity in Nigeria, adding that by the time it starts dispensing its products, the price would be lower than the cost of imported fuel. He said this was because there would be no freight cost, storage, or logistics expenses. Emefiele also noted that Dangote Refinery coming at this time gave the country confidence that even if fuel subsidy was exited, the products would still be available.
Furthermore, Emefiele stated that the CBN had given out about N8 trillion in interventions to the private sector in the last five years. However, going forward, the apex bank would reduce its quasi-fiscal activities, he added.
In response to the CBN’s announcement, the National President of the Independent Petroleum Association of Nigeria, Elder Chinedu Okoronkwo, expressed satisfaction with the development, noting that the coming onstream of the plant would encourage the government to end fuel subsidy, which would be affordable to Nigerians. The National President, Oil and Gas Service Providers Association of Nigeria, OGSPAN, Mazi Colman Obasi, also commended Alhaji Aliko Dangote for making the investment, noting that the refinery would enable the country to reduce or completely stop dependence on the global market.
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However, Sola Obadimu, Director-General of Nigerian Chamber of Commerce, Industry, Mines, and Agriculture (NACCIMA), urged the CBN to merge forex rates to avoid any form of corruption that might arise from multiple exchange rates. He noted that the government should encourage export activities that generate forex for the country.
In conclusion, the Dangote Refinery is expected to provide foreign exchange earnings to Nigerian banks at a good rate, which would help to ease foreign exchange scarcity in the country. The refinery would also enable the country to reduce or stop its dependence on the global market for petroleum products.