The Federal Government has adjured Nigeria’s richest man Aliko Dangote to speed up the construction of his $12bn refinery.

According to the Nigerian government, it is ready to assist in the construction of the oil refinery as it may lead to the end of fuel importation in Nigeria if the refinery is completed before 2019.

The entire project which comprises the refinery and a petrochemical complex is, however, valued at about $18bn.

Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Ibe Kachikwu during a visit to the refinery site said “It is good to say that private sector is the answer to Nigeria’s problems with a project as big as this. The challenge I will give you today is that of time; I see your time for completion is 2019 December, but I am sure you will understand my greed if I tell you that the refinery component of this project should come earlier than the set date.

“I have made a very firm commitment to Nigerians that I must stop the importation of petroleum products by 2019 and I am going to keep to it. It is absolutely important that we do this early and given the feat that we have achieved in terms of speed of construction and I urge you to do all within you to achieve its completion before the due date,’‘

Dangote who was present during the visit said his team will work to see how best they could speed up work on the project which is made up of an oil refinery and a petrochemical complex.

“In addition, we are also building the largest sub-sea pipeline infrastructure in any country in the world, with a length of 1,100 km, to handle 3 billion SCF of gas per day. We also plan to construct a 570 MW power plant in this complex.

“As a matter of fact, gas from our gas pipeline will augment the natural domestic gas supply and we estimate an additional 12,000MW of power generation can be added to the grid with the additional gas from our system.

“We will be adding value to our economy as all these projects will be creating about 4,000 direct and 145,000 indirect jobs. We will also save over $7.5 billion for Nigeria annually, through import substitution and generate an additional $5.5 billion per annum through exports of the refined petroleum products, fertilizer, and petrochemicals,” Dangote said.