Godwin Emefiele, governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), says the Dangote Group has paid back 70 percent of the loans it took to construct an oil refinery.
Emefiele spoke at the commissioning of the 650,000 barrels per day (bpd) Dangote Refinery in Lagos on Monday.
The CBN boss said the refinery was initially estimated to cost just about $9 billion but the project cost escalated and was eventually completed with a total of $18.5 billion.
The amount, he said, constituted 50 percent equity investment by Dangote and 50 percent debt finance by banks.
Emefiele said the commercial loan component of the project was financed majorly by domestic banks while the rest was provided by foreign banks.
He added that the CBN also partnered with the Dangote Group to ensure successful completion of the project by providing about N125 billion for domestic currency requirements while also ensuring the availability of foreign exchange (FX) to pay for imported equipment.
“We have it on good authority that the Dangote Group has paid off some portion of these commercial loans even before this commissioning today,” Emefiele said.
“Today, total loans outstanding have dropped from over $9 billion when this project started to N2.7 billion. This reflects the astute credit worthiness and commercial capability of the group and its chairman, Alhaji Dangote.
“I must at this juncture appreciate all the participating local Nigerian banks, who did not only partner with the project through effective financing but were keenly aware of the importance of the project for our nation.
“They provided immense support and exceptional understanding, even when interest payments and principal repayment had fallen due.”
Emefiele further expressed optimism that Nigeria, under the incoming administration, will cease importing petroleum products, fertiliser and petrochemicals and save the country over $26 billion.