Lagos State Governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode on Saturday said that the refinery, petrochemical, gas and fertilizer projects being undertaken by Africa’s richest man and business mogul, Aliko Dangote at the Lekki Free Zone (LFZ) in Lagos would significantly boost the economy of Lagos and Nigeria in general.
Governor Ambode who spoke to newsmen shortly after an extensive inspection tour of the projects by the Nigeria’s Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo and some members of the Federal Executive Council, said the projects would have great multiplier effects on the nation’s economy.
He said, “Firstly, there is a refinery project that is ongoing, second there is a petrochemical project that is also ongoing. There is pipeline transfer project that brings gas from Bonny down to Olokonla and down to Lekki and then the fourth one is the fertilizer project all in one location.”
He said the projects would also be critical to the economic growth of the Lagos East and West Senatorial Districts which according to him will be open to massive investment opportunities on completion.
Governor Ambode said the decision of the Vice President to lead the inspection visit to the projects was a signpost to the benefits inherent not just for the State but to the nation.
He assured that his administration would provide the necessary support to ensure that the projects are completed within schedule.
“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 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 because for the very first time we are going to have a Petrochemical project that is coming on stream by December 2017; a Refinery that is coming on stream by the first quarter of 2019 and also the Gas project that is coming on stream by 2018. You can just imagine or visualize what that means to the economy of Lagos,” Governor Ambode said.
He 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.
Osinbajo, while addressing newsmen after a project briefing at the LFZ, said the project as a whole is an incredible industrial undertaken being the largest and the most ambitious in Africa.
The Vice President who was accompanied on the inspection by the Ministers for Finance, Kemi Adeosun; Solid Minerals, Dr. Kayode Fayemi , Power, Works and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Fashola and Industry, Trade and Investment, Mr. Okechukwu Enelamah, said 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.
On his part, Alhaji Dangote said the decision to site the projects in Lagos was due to the investment friendly climate in the State.
“Lagos is one State that is very investor friendly and the governor himself has always been asking what are the issues and he normally put in place steps to resolve those issues immediately,” he said.
He said the Gas Pipeline Project would guarantee uninterrupted power supply in Lagos on completion, and also positively increase the State’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Dangote further said the projects would also attract other bigger investors into the Zone.
He also said the projects would benefit the local communities as at least 65 per cent of people in the catchment area would be employed, while over 1000 would be trained.
“Our target is that in the next five years or so from now, we hope and we believe that half of Nigeria’s crude will be refined and exported rather than just exporting c’rude to go and create jobs elsewhere,” Dangote said.