We Will Make Laws to Protect Local Industries, says Akpabio, after tour of Dangote Refinery

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The President of the Senate, Godswill Akpabio has assured Indigenous investors that the National Assembly will make laws to encourage investment and protect local industries.

Akpabio gave the assurance after leading the leadership of the Senate on a guided facility tour of the World largest single-train refinery, Dangote Petroleum Refinery and Fertiliser Plant in Lekki, Lagos at the weekend.

The Senate President was accompanied on the tour by the Deputy Senate President, Barau Jibrin, Senate Leader, Opeyemi Bamidele, Senate Deputy Leader, Lola Ashiru, Senate Deputy Majority Whip, Nwebonyi Onyekachi, Senate Minority Leader, Abba Moro, Senate Deputy Minority Leader, Lere Oyewumi, Senate Minority Whip, Osita Ngwu and Senate Deputy Minority Whip, Rufai Hanga.

Others were Chairmam Senate Committee on Petroleum(Downstream), Ifeanyi Ubah and his Deputy Jide Ipinsagba who is also Chairman, Committe on Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Tokunbo Abiru who is representing Lagos East which covers the site of the Refinery at Ibeju Lekki and Chairman, Senate Committee on NDDC, Asuquo Ekpenyong .

They were conducted round the huge industrial complex by the President of the Dangote Group, Aliko Dangote, assisted by the Group’s Vice President for Oil and Gas, Devakumar Edwin. The Governor of Lagos State, Babajide Sanwo-Olu also joined them on the tour.

Speaking after the facility tour, Akpabio assured Dangote and Nigerian entrepreneurs in general that “we are going to consume what we produce.”

He said:”Don’t expect any investment from us but we will invest in our ideas, we will invest in legislations to protect this business.

“Today, we are leaving here convinced that we are going to consume what we produce. We will no longer allow people to bring in products that will give our people cancer when we have the one that is cancer free.

“We will make laws that will encourage investments and we will also make laws that will protect local industries. Nobody can fault us when we go out there and say we can no longer import what we know we can produce here. So let us consume what we produce.”

The Senate President also explained the rationale behind the facility tour of Dangote Refinery by the Senate leadership:”To be honest, it is better for you to come and see. Out there in Abuja, many of us were told that this Refinery was a farce.

“We were told that it was just another dream pipe, it was never going to work, when over 240 million people can build two refineries – one in Kaduna, one in Portharcourt, even another one in Warri and none has worked in the last 50 years.How can one human being now come and make a refinery to work in Nigeria?

“You have shamed all the critics. Now you have challenged the National Assembly now to undertake major oversight into why Ajaokuta Steel Complex is dead. You have challenged us to find out why Aluminium Smelter Company in Ikot Abasi is dead.

“You have also challenged us as Nigerians to find out why the biggest Paper company in the world at Oku- Iboku is also dead after billions of dollars has been sunk into them.

“Even with the presentation yesterday, I pitty you. You are going to have a lot of envious people around you. Even your friends will envy you because people will say why you. How can you succeed where others have failed? How can you succeed where nations have failed? How can you succeed where continents have failed?

“But you have succeeded. It is the grace of Almighty Allah that has guided you to succeed. We came because the 10th Assembly is a progressive Assembly that believes in the people of Nigeria.

“We came because we believe that we must make legislations to encourage businesses and also encourage foreign direct investment in Nigeria.

“We came, not as doubting Thomases but with a lot of hope that yes, we can use the Dangote Refinery to renew the hope of the young people in this country. For them to know that the future is brighter than what we saw in the past. We came to announce our own endorsement of this major accomplishment that you have brought to bare.”

In his remarks, Governor Sanwo-Olu was full of praises for the Senate to have considered it fit to embark on the facility tour: “Mr Senate President, my take is to thank you and your colleagues for finding time to come here to see things for yourselves.

“And because you have come, you have seen, we believe that in your leadership, you will also use the 10th Assembly to further legislate innovative ideas like this, to further put the template of Nigeria forward where businesses can thrive, policies and programmes of government that can help to create several Aliko Dangotes, that can create several businesses that will indeed leapfrog and take this government and this country forward.”

Sanwo-Olu thanked Dangote and the entire management of the Dangote Group for putting Nigeria on the world map and for putting the country in “the global scheme of can do, can dream and with all the sensibility of possibilities.”

Also speaking after taking his guests round the Refinery and Fertiliser plant, Dangote specifically urged the Federal lawmakers for legal protection of the huge investment made.

“Without the policies that were laid down by the government, there is no way Nigeria would have been self sufficient in Cement, Fertiliser and Petrochemicals.

“Nigeria has been importing refined products the last 30 years. But without the right policies, nobody will come and put a dime. So I must thank you for giving the right laws for people to come and invest.

“Despite being a private-sector project, Dangote Refinery is doing a patriotic job in ensuring that Nigeria meets its aspirations of self sufficiency in refined products. And not only in self sufficient, we will export to all our neighbours. All the West Africa and Central Africa, up to Brazil.

“Actually, we have been shipping now up to Mexico from here. Therefore I urge you to please consider this Refinery as our national asset given the envisaged long multiplier effect on the economy.

“Indigenous investment of such magnitude ought to be protected and backed by law that should prevent disruptions in its activities.

“I want to assure you, with this Refinery, we will stop all the bad Petroleum products imports not only to Nigeria but into the Continent.”

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