The governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Godwin Emefiele, has disclosed that the President of Dangote Group, Aliko Dangote, has started repaying some of the loans used in financing the Dangote Refinery and Petrochemicals.

While giving his address at the commissioning of the project in Lagos on Monday, Emefiele noted that the refinery which was initially estimated to cost about $9 billion when it started in 2013, was completed with a total of $18.5bn with funding distributed into 50 percent equity investment and 50 percent debt finance.

Emefiele, who noted that the commercial loan component of the project was financed majorly by domestic banks with the balance sourced from foreign banks, added that the CBN provided about N125 billion to cover domestic currency requirements for the venture.

“What you may not be fully aware of, Your Excellencies, is that the Dangote Group has started repaying some of the commercial loans even before the commissioning of this facility. This reflects the commercial capability of the Group and its Chairman. I am pleased to inform everyone today that, following extensive repayments, outstanding debt has dropped appreciably from over US$9 billion to US$3 billion.”

“I must at this juncture appreciate all the participating local Nigerian banks, who did not only partner with the project through effective financing but were keenly aware of the importance of the project for our nation. They provided immense support and exceptional understanding, even when interest payments and principal repayment had fallen due,” he said

The Dangote refinery which has the capacity to process 650,000 barrels of crude oil per day, is the largest single-train refinery in the world. Given this processing capacity, the refinery is more than able to meet all of Nigeria’s domestic fuel consumption, which is about 450,000 barrels per day; whilst the excess production will be available for export.