A new basic chemicals platform worth $1.3b that will produce ammonia and fertilisers in Nigeria will be ready for commissioning in the coming months, President Muhammadu Buhari said on Thursday.
He made the disclosure at an audience with members of the Fertiliser Producers and Suppliers Association of Nigeria (FEPSAN) in Abuja.
“His Majesty, the King of Morocco and I, have agreed to extend the current phosphate supply agreement between the Kingdom of Morocco and Nigeria.
“We both believe that to consolidate and expand on the successes recorded thus far, we must secure raw material supplies to our blenders,” the President was quoted as saying in a statement by his media adviser, Femi Adesina.
He added, “Furthermore, to improve the balance of trade between Nigeria and Morocco, the two countries have signed an agreement to develop a $1.3 billion basic chemicals platform in Nigeria that will produce ammonia, phosphoric acid, sulphuric acid, and various Nitrogen, Phosphorus and Potassium (NPK), and Diammonium Phosphate (DAP) fertilisers using Nigeria’s gas reserves.”
President Buhari noted that the new plant when completed would complement the existing Dangote and Indorama Chemicals facilities which produce urea, ammonia, and other industrial raw materials.
According to him, Nigeria will become a regional and global fertiliser powerhouse when the projects are combined with the existing 44 blending plants.
On the activities of the FEPSAN, the President was happy with the progress made over the past five years, saying investments in the fertiliser and agricultural inputs sector have continued to grow despite the country going through recessions during the period.
He said, “Though many investors chose to take their monies out of Nigeria, you continued to invest. Today, we are seeing the fruits of your smart, long term and patriotic decisions.
“This is why all Nigerians should be proud of the personal commitments and sacrifices you all made in getting us to where we are today.”
“Another commendable trait worth mentioning is that all your investments have been balanced between urban and rural Nigeria; these are the types of investments needed to address the unemployment and security challenges our nation is facing today,” President Buhari added.
He assured FEPSAN that the Federal Government would continue to ensure a conducive business environment for such investments to flourish.
– Look Beyond The Cities –
On the issue of security, the President was concerned that the lack of employment prospects and opportunities in most rural communities had remained a major contributor to insecurity.
He noted that for decades, previous government policies have focused on urban development at the expense of rural inclusion.
President Buhari, however, explained that his administration has worked hard to bridge some of the economic imbalances in the last four years through its various agricultural and financial policies to attract employment opportunities to rural areas.
“As we continue to expand our security operations to bring an end to these challenges, it is important to note that peace and prosperity can only be sustained if we collectively and actively support investments that take opportunities to our rural citizens.
“I, therefore, urge our governors, bankers, investors, and entrepreneurs to look beyond our cities when it comes to investments.
The President commended the Jigawa State Governor, Muhammad Abubakar, as well as Mr Thomas Etuh and his FEPSAN team, the Central Bank of Nigeria, the Nigeria Sovereign Investment Authority, security and intelligence agencies, and all government agencies for their collaboration in making the project possible.
In his remarks, FEPSAN President, Thomas Etuh, recounted that in their first meeting with the President five years ago, he gave the association a mission to reduce Nigeria’s reliance on imports, enhance fertiliser availability and affordability and create jobs over a four-year period.
He added that from being an unbankable sector that was on the verge of bankruptcy, the members of the association in the last three months alone have been able to raise bank guarantees and funding of close to N100 billion.