LAGOS, July 11 (Reuters) – The private sector arm of the World Bank said it has granted a $73.5 million loan to support development of a terminal to export fertilizers at Port Harcourt in Nigeria’s Niger Delta, which will help increase the country’s non-oil exports.
Nigeria, which relies on crude sales for around 90 percent of its foreign exchange, is reeling from a plunge in oil prices and the government has said it wants to diversify Africa’s biggest economy away from oil.
The new terminal, a joint venture between Indorama Eleme Petrochemicals Limited and Oil and Industrial Services Limited, will cost $150 million in total, IFC said. It will be used to ship fertilizers from Indorama Eleme’s fertilizer plant, now under construction 16 kilometres from the terminal.
The terminal will be able to handle up to 2 million tons a year of dry bulk urea exports.
“IFC is committed to supporting investments in key infrastructure that will help facilitate the growth of Nigeria’s non-oil sector,” said Eme Essien Lore, IFC country manager for Nigeria.
The IFC is providing a $73.5 million debt package comprising $52.5 million of its own funds and a $21 million parallel loan mobilized from a commercial bank.
Rand Merchant Bank is providing an additional $31.5 million loan for the terminal.
Nigeria’s central bank ditched its 16-month old currency peg last month to allow the naira to trade freely on the interbank market but dollar liquidity has been thin, leaving the bank as the main supplier of the greenback.
The country’s need to diversify away from its reliance on crude sales has intensified in the wake of a spate of attacks on oil and gas facilities in the Niger Delta over the last few months that in spring briefly pushed oil production to 30-year lows. (Reporting by Chijioke Ohuocha; Editing by Alexis Akwagyiram and Susan Fenton)
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