Africa

Nigeria, Morocco sign deal to build fertiliser plant in Akwa Ibom

Nigeria Sovereign Investment Authority (NSIA) says it has signed a deal with OCP Group, a Moroccan company, to build a fertiliser plant.

Uche Orji, managing director and chief executive officer (CEO), NSIA, said this on Thursday at a press briefing on the presidential fertiliser initiative (FPI) in Abuja.

OCP Group is a Moroccan state-owned phosphate rock miner, phosphoric acid manufacturer, and fertilizer producer.

Orji said the deal is a joint venture that aims to address the issue of ammonia and boost fertiliser supply in the long term.

The plant is expected to be inaugurated by 2025.

“Dangote is up and running. The NSIA itself signed a joint venture 50-50 with OCP of Morocco to now build an ammonia plant in Nigeria, we’ve selected to build it in Akwa Ibom state, work is ongoing,” he said.

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“We’re now about to start selecting the  EPC companies, unfortunately, we had hoped to have finished that process last year but we were delayed a little bit by Covid. But we’re hoping that by 2025, that plant will be up and running as well, producing ammonia.”

However, Orji did not say the expected capacity of the plant.

In March 2022, President Muhammadu Buhari inaugurated the three million metric tonnes Dangote Fertiliser Plant in Lagos.

The signing is part of the federal government’s efforts to make Nigeria self-sufficient in fertiliser production, and, by extension, boost food security.

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Orji also described it as one of the benefits of PFIs, “enforcing all of us to think how we can use domestic products to solve our problems.”

Speaking on Nigeria’s capacity to produce fertiliser, he said 60 per cent of the raw materials required for production are available in the country.

“Urea is available, limestone is the fourth thing used as a filler to bind the product together, and is also available in Nigeria. But we would leave it and then import it, it didn’t make any sense,” he said.

Some of the things the president directed us to work on last year was developing the local phosphate and potash industry. The phosphate you see in Morocco starts from Sokoto and runs to Morocco. So, we have it locally, we just haven’t bothered to develop it.

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“So now, we’re working on developing that. It’s important because this is actually the first time our consciousness has been awoken on making sure we solve this issue.

“The same with potash. Potash runs from Gombe through Bauchi to Benue. Again, available in the country and we just have to dig it up from the ground, granulate it, clean it up and be able to sell it locally.”

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