Experts hinge Nigeria’s downstream growth in 2022 on Dangote’s Refinery
Story from Abah ADAH, Abuja
In their respective economic forecasts for the year 2022, experts have identified the Dangote Petroleum Refinery as a major driver of growth at the downstream sector of the Nigerian economy throughout the year.
Dangote Oil Refinery is a 650,000 barrels per day (BPD) integrated refinery project under construction in the Lekki Free Zone near Lagos, Nigeria. It is expected to be Africa’s biggest oil refinery and the world’s biggest single-train facility.
According to the Centre for the Promotion of Private Enterprise (CPPE), an economic advocacy group, the refinery is one of the key expected drivers of growth that would impact positively on the downstream sector of the Nigerian economy in 2022.
Likewise, Financial Derivatives Company Limited, a financial institution, in its recent Economic Report for 2022, expressed a firm belief that Dangote Refinery would boost the growth of the downstream sector of the economy and enhance petroleum products distribution across Africa.
The Managing Director/CEO of Financial Derivatives Company, Bismarck Rewane, however, warned that the refinery, when operational, would not be a final solution to Nigeria’s economic crises.
“The coming on stream of Dangote Refinery will no doubt enhance product distribution across Africa. Will Dangote refinery solve Nigeria’s problem? The answer is no. But the company is going to make Nigeria an exporter of refined petroleum products,” he added.
In a Nigeria Economic Outlook for 2022 released by the CPPE, its Chief Executive Officer, Dr Muda Yusuf, said activation of the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA) in 2022 is expected to impact positively on the economic outlook.
“We expect to see positive outcomes as investor sentiments in the oil and gas sector improve on account of the reforms anchored on the PIA.
“This will however depend on the political will deployed to drive the implementation of the provisions of the Act. It is also expected that the coming on stream of the Dangote refinery in 2022 will also impact positively on the downstream sector of the economy”, he added.
He said the average oil price in 2022 is expected to exceed the budgeted benchmark of sixty-two dollars ($62) per barrel, offering some fiscal headroom. This, he noted, would be powered by higher energy demand driven by the recovery of economic activities globally.
“This trajectory is expected to impact on our foreign reserve and strengthen the capacity of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to support the foreign exchange market”, Yusuf said.
He, however, added that if the Dangote Refinery comes on stream in 2022, the fiscal pressure on the economy may abate, but not completely eliminated.
According to the economist, because the service sector is less vulnerable to the structural constraints of the economy, especially the real sector of the economy, it will continue to outpace the real sector in 2022.
He said, “The service sector of the Nigerian economy will continue to outpace the real sector in 2022. In the third quarter of 2021, the service sector contribution to GDP was 50 per cent and the growth of the sector was 8.41 per cent. The oil sector contribution to GDP was 7.5 per cent while the non-oil sector contribution was 92.5 per cent. While the industrial sector growth contracted by 1.63 per cent, agriculture grew by 1.2 per cent.”
Yusuf said the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth would remain fragile at about three per cent, pointing out that the key expected drivers of growth would be sustained recovery of global oil price.
He said, “We expect that the average oil price in 2022 will exceed the budgeted benchmark of $62 per barrel, offering some fiscal headroom. This would be powered by higher energy demand driven by the recovery of economic activities globally.”
The economist noted that despite the downside risks, the economy would continue to present huge opportunities for investors across all sectors. “This is on account of the resourcefulness of the Nigerian people, especially the entrepreneurs. Other inherent strengths of the Nigerian economy include the market size, the population, and the demographic characteristics”, he added.