Dangote Industries Limited said that members of the association paid a visit to the refinery in Ibeju-Lekki during which they toured the facility and expressed their willingness to collaborate on the distribution of refined products.
Speaking after a tour of the refinery project, Lawal Yusuf Othman, President of NARTO, described Aliko Dangote as a trailblazer in the nation’s industrial development, whose contributions to economic development of the nation have helped in reducing unemployment and alleviating poverty.
Othman said members of NARTO had been given the necessary assurance that their businesses were going to be protected when the refinery comes on stream under the Petroleum Industry Act.
“Many people are not refining because the sector is still regulated. It is difficult to invest billions of dollars into a sector, where prices are determined by the government. Deregulation will encourage more players into the downstream sector,” he said.
“We are impressed with the massive project which has been regarded as the largest single-train refinery in the world. The quality of the machines, the size of the refinery, and the quality of the work is of international standard.
“We are also very happy that there is a plan to construct the road from the refinery down to around Ijebu-Ode. The road construction is going to decongest the roads and make it easy for us to do our business.”
He also noted that it is expected that there is going to be full deregulation of Nigeria’s downstream oil and gas sector. At the same time, hoping in the coming months, the Dangote Refinery will come into operation.
“As at today, imported petroleum product is distributed across the country through road by our members. We thought that now that Dangote Refinery is coming on stream, the company might be interested in self-distribution of the products across the country without involving us,” he added.
“However, we have been told that the products will be distributed through the depots. So, we will partner Dangote refinery for ease of products distribution across the country.
“We have been assured that 70 per cent of the refined products will be transported through the sea, while 30 per cent will be by trucking. Although, the company has a gantry with a loading capacity of about 2,000 trucks per day, we have been assured that Dangote does not have interest in the retail of petroleum products.”
Othman was certain beyond reasonable doubt that their businesses were going to continue in the downstream sector.