Nigeria Signs Fresh Five-Plug Bilateral Deal On Industrial Growth

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Nigeria has signed a $1.4 billion memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Morocco to enhance its industrial capacity and boost the performance of the agriculture sector.

The five-plug agreements constituting the MoU entered into by the Nigeria Sovereign Investment Authority (NSIA) and OCP Africa at the Mohamed VI Polytechnic University (UM6P) in Benguerir, Morocco, would lead to the siting of an ammonia plant and a multipurpose industrial platform in Akwa Ibom State.

The deal, signed on Tuesday, is designed to create a clear path for the second phase of the Presidential Fertiliser Initiate as well as the creation and operationalisation of the multipurpose industrial platform, a statement issued by NSIA said.

Other parties to the agreement included the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), the Nigerian Content Development & Monitoring Board (NCDMB), Gas Aggregation Company Nigeria Limited, Akwa Ibom State Government, the Fertilizer Producers and Suppliers Association of Nigeria (FEPSAN) and Mobil Producing Nigeria.

The five agreements included an MoU between NSIA, OCP Africa and FEPSAN to commit to the second phase of the Nigerian Presidential Fertilizer Initiative (PFI II, a shareholders agreement (SHA) between NSIA and OCP Africa for the creation of the Joint Venture Company (JVC) which will oversee the development of an industrial platform that will produce ammonia and fertilizers in Nigeria and an MoU between NSIA, OCP Africa and Akwa Ibom State on land acquisition, administrative facilitation and common agricultural development projects in the Akwa Ibom.

Others are an MOU between NSIA, OCP Africa and NNPC to evaluate the opportunity of an equity investment by the NNPC in the JVC and for its support on gas as well as a framework agreement between NSIA, OCP Africa, Mobil Producing Nigeria, the NNPC and GACN on gas supply for a multipurpose industrial platform.

The first two deals, according to the press release, relate to the second phase of the PFI II while the last three contracts underpin the creation of a multipurpose industrial platform to be sited in Akwa Ibom State

Speaking on the development, the Minister of State for Petroleum and head of the Nigerian delegation, Chief Timipre Sylva, said “I assure you that President Muhammadu Buhari is very committed to actualisation of this project. He has mandated the Ministry of Petroleum Resources and all its agencies, notably the NNPC, DPR, NCDMB, and all other government agencies to give maximum support to the project.”

The Group Managing Director of NNPC, Mal. Mele Kyari, said that the “NNPC and all its subsidiaries are committed to the project”. He added that “NNPC is committed to taking equity stakes in the joint venture company and will ensure that sufficient gas is available for the project to succeed”.

Also speaking, the Managing Director of NSIA, Uche Orji, said the “project forms a key part of NSIA’s gas industrialisation strategy and will deep intra-continental trade which is essential to Africa’s development and economic renaissance”. He added that the multipurpose industrial platform would explore increased levels of synergy between NSIA and OCP and the partners and ultimately ensure that Nigeria builds an industrial base “that is sustainable and complementary to mutual objectives of developing the agriculture sector in Nigeria”.

The Executive Secretary of NCDMB, Simbi Wabote, described the bilateral agreement between the two countries as significant to the Nigerian economy as it would accelerate Nigeria’s gas monetisation programme through the establishment of the ammonia plant and improve the balance of trade, which is currently skewed in favour of Morocco.

He added that the agreement would also improve Nigeria’s per capita fertiliser application through the importation of phosphate derivatives from Morocco.

Wabote challenged the relevant parties to focus on accelerating the FID, assuring that NCDMB would take equity investment for long-term sustainability of the project.

He said: “There is also need to determine manpower needs for construction and operations phase of the project and develop training programmes that will create the workforce pool from Nigeria and Morocco and design collaboration framework between Research centres in Nigeria and Morocco to develop technology solutions for maintaining the ISBL and OSBL units of the Ammonia complex.”

Governor Emmanuel Udom of Akwa Ibom promised that the state would be a good host to the project, adding that the state controls 36 percent of Nigeria’s gas reserve and therefore deserves to host the project. He said the state was an investment haven in terms of peace and has the longest shoreline in the country (109km).

– The Guardian

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