By BEN EGUZOZIE, Port Harcourt
Nigeria stands to earn at least $1 billion annually from net exportation of fertilizer by the time Indorama Eleme Fertilizer and Chemicals Limited (IEFCL), Port Harcourt, begins rollout of urea pellets from its 1.4 million metric tons (MMT) capacity fertilizer plant.
The fertilizer company is a subsidiary of Indorama Eleme Petrochemicals Limited (IEPL), which bought over the moribund Eleme Petrochemicals Limited (EPCL) in 2006, and had grown it from producing ethylene, polyethylene, polypropylene, methanol to building what would come off as the world’s largest single-line fertilizer plant.
Manish Mundra, managing director/CEO of Indorama Nigeria, while explaining recently, said they would be exporting 1 million metric tons (1MMT) of its urea fertilizer to different parts of the world, apparently beginning with Africa, while the remaining 400,000MT would be sold in-country to farmers in Nigeria.
Over the years, the Federal Government had spent several billions of naira importing the urea and NPK brands of fertilizers into the country, which it subsidised for farmers, amid huge frauds by some officials assigned to oversee the programme.
The IEFCL managing director said the fertilizer plant, which was completed along with a port terminal at Onne Port Complex, Port Harcourt and an 84-kilometre gas pipeline to supply feedstock to the plant, had come to fill the fertilizer gap in the country, which led to years of huge importation of the product.
By so doing, Indorama would make Nigeria a net exporter of fertilizers and put the country on the fertilizer map of the world, which would boost the country’s foreign exchange earnings, and add about $1 billion to its gross domestic product (GDP), he said.
Mundra also informed that the fertilizer plant, by the time it goes into production, along with its support projects, the port terminal and gas pipeline, would create thousands of direct and indirect jobs, increase tax and VAT revenues for government and its agencies, and enhance the wellbeing of the host communities.
The IEFCL CEO disclosed that the three mega projects had combined to gulp $1.5 billion to date.
Already, two West African countries – Mali and Cameroon – have opened initial discussions with the management of the fertilizer company on securing direct exports to their various countries.
Construction work on the giant fertilizer plant began in 2013, and finished in Q1 2016. At the time being, the plant is undergoing production test-run.
Commissioning of the $1.4 billion World Bank (International Finance Corporation, IFC) funded new fertilizer plant is due in weeks to be performed by President Muhammadu Buhari.
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