Citing economic benefits accruing from the multi-billion dollars 650,000 barrels per day (bpd) capacity Dangote Refinery currently under construction, organised labour thrown its weight behind the project describing it as a singular investment that will define the future of the Nigeria and the African continent.

Activities in the global and domestic economy in year 2020 were shaped by the COVID-19 pandemic and responses of various national governments, monetary authorities, private sector as well as international agencies in dealing with the health and economic effects of the pandemic. The Nigerian economy was already in a fragile and precarious position pre-pandemic. For context, the economy was faced with myriad challenges including subdued economic growth, falling income per capita, rising inflation, external vulnerabilities, escalating debt profile, insecurity, high unemployment incidence and weak investment confidence. These challenges were amplified by COVID-19 induced disruptions as the economy lacked adequate buffers to supress the shock.

Leaders of trade unions of Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) such as; Textile, Chemical, Electricity, Automobile, Engineering as well as Petroleum and Gas, who are affiliates of international labour platform called IndustriALL Global Union said the size of the refinery project spoke volume of the entrepreneurial spirit of Aliko Dangote.

Calling on the federal government to give all the supports needed to aid timely completion of the project, the labour leaders recalled that more than 40 ‘handbag businessmen’ were initially issued license to operate refinery during the Obasanjo regime but unfortunately, none of them has been seen to clear the land let alone starting construction.

President of National Union of Chemical Rubber Leather and Non-Metalic Products Employees (NUCFRILAMPE), who is the auditor of the NLC and chairman of the Nigerian Council of Industrial Global Union, Comrade Babatunde Goke Olatunji, said the investment patriotism of Aliko Dangote is unparalleled and disclosed that the labour has recommended Dangote to United Nations for Africa Industrial Development Ambassador.

He explained that the labour leaders were motivated to give their views to newsmen on their findings on the Dangote Refinery after a working tour of the project in Lagos because of the massive potential job opportunities and the economic benefits upon completion, which is what labour is after.

Their visit to the refinery, according to him, was in tandem with the industrial development sustainability goal of the global union. The union also has as part of the goals the defence of workers right, building union power, fighting precarious wok and engaging capital.

“To our amazement, we couldn’t move round the whole of the refinery and the fertiliser sites because of the huge size which eight times bigger than the present Victoria Island. Upon completion, the refinery alone is capable of employing directly 300,000 workers while the fertilizer will attract about 5000 direct jobs. This is highly welcome in view of the present jobs depleting economy of Nigeria.

“With the present policies and efforts towards the diversification of Nigeria’s economy, the fertilizer plant shall encourage and enhance agricultural sector in no small measure as there shall be massive food production while cash crops shall equally constitute raw materials for our manufacturing sector and for exportation.

Nigeria urgently needs to industrialise by evolving good economic and industrial policies that will encourage investment culture of individuals,” Olatunji stated.

He enthused that labour is so pleased with Dangote for all his investments, saying, “if there is no investment, there won’t be jobs, when there are no jobs, there won’t be works, when there are no workers, there won’t be unions, this is why we have to do all to encourage people like Dangote. If we have 20 of Dangote in Nigeria, the country will be an industrial hub in Africa.”

Olatunji then disclosed that the union has recommended Alhaji Aliko Dangote for the award of Industrial Development Ambassador (IDA) by the United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO) and Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment.

In his own remark, the immediate past secretary of the textile workers union who is the vice president, IndustriALL Global Union (IGU), Africa, Issa Aremu, maintained that for Africa to move forward, Africa must trade on goods produced locally to stimulate competitiveness within the region, which exactly is the approach of the Dangote Group.

Recalling how past leaders developed each of the North, East and West through resources from agricultural produce and how Nigeria was once self-sufficient in petroleum production before it became a net exporter now, Aremu said the Dangote refinery is on the verge of correcting the anomaly.

He described as a shame of a nation that it will take an ingenuity of someone like Dangote to bring Nigeria back on the map of countries whose people are striving to make the country industrial nation.

According to him, ahead on the Jan 1, 2021 takeoff of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), Africa must Industrialise to achieve this without relying on International markets.

While calling for an urgent need to address insecurity lapses in the country, Aremu added that insecurity was becoming a threat to industrialisation and also a threat to a successful realization the AfCFTA.

Also speaking on the Dangote Refinery, the secretary of Nigeria Council of IndustriALL Global, Mbang Ntukube lauded the size of the investment in the refinery, petrochemical and the fertiliser, urging the government to see the need to start providing critical infrastructure now before the situation goes out of hand when the refinery becomes operational.

Meanwhile, in the report titled “Economic & Business Review for Year 2020 and Outlook for Year 2021’, the director-general of Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI), Muda Yusuf said that “Dangote Oil Refinery worth an estimated investment of $12 billion is expected to commence operation towards the end of year 2021.

“The refinery is a 650, 000 barrels/day integrated refinery situated in the Lekki Free Trade Zone in Lagos. The refinery is expected to produce up to 50 million litres of gasoline and 15 million litres of diesel daily.”

According to Yusuf, the Dangote Oil Refinery has much significance for the Nigerian economy that is dependent on imported refined fuel products to lack of domestic refining capacity.

“The refinery is aimed at boosting Nigeria’s refining capacity and help meet the increasing domestic fuel demand, while generating foreign exchange through exports. Official data by the National Bureau of Statistics showed that Nigerians consumed about 57 million litres of petrol daily. Thus, we expect the commencement of operations at the Dangote Refinery to reduce Nigeria’s demand for imported fuel with consequent effect on pump price,” he stressed.



Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here