Federal Government says a new basic chemicals platform worth $1.3b that will produce ammonia and fertilizers in Nigeria will be ready for commissioning in the coming months.

President Buhari who made this known when he received a delegation from the Fertilizer Producers and Suppliers Association of Nigeria (FEPSAN), said the new plant would be built in partnership with the Kingdom of Morocco.

‘‘His Majesty, the King of Morocco and I, have agreed to extend the current Phosphate supply agreement between the Kingdom of Morocco and Nigeria.

‘‘We both believe that to consolidate and expand on the successes recorded thus far, we must secure raw material supplies to our blenders.

‘‘Furthermore, to improve the balance of trade between Nigeria and Morocco, the two countries have signed an agreement to develop a $1.3 billion Basic Chemicals Platform in Nigeria that will produce Ammonia, Phosphoric Acid, Sulphuric Acid and various Nitrogen, Phosphorus and Potassium (NPK) and Diammonium Phosphate (DAP) fertilisers using Nigeria’s gas reserves, ’’ he said.

The President added that the new plant when completed would complement the existing Dangote and Indorama Chemicals facilities which produce urea, ammonia and other industrial raw materials.

‘‘When we combine these projects with the existing 44 blending plants, Nigeria will indeed become a regional and global fertiliser power house,’’ he said.

On the activities of the FEPSAN, President Buhari expressed delight on the progress they have made over the past five years, saying that despite the country going through recessions during the period, investments in the fertiliser and agricultural inputs sector continued to grow.

He assured them that the Federal Government would continue to ensure a conducive business environment for these investments to flourish.

On the issue of security, the President expressed concern that the lack of employment prospects and opportunities in most rural communities had remained a major contributor to insecurity.

He noted that for decades, previous Government policies have focused on urban development at the expense of rural inclusion.

The President commended Governor Muhammad Badaru Abubakar of Jigawa State, Mr Thomas Etuh and his FEPSAN team, the Central Bank of Nigeria, the Nigeria Sovereign Investment Authority, security and intelligence agencies and all Federal and State Government agencies for their collaboration in making the project possible.

In his remarks, FEPSAN President Mr Thomas Etuh recounted that in their first meeting with the President Buhari five years ago, he gave the association a mission to reduce Nigeria’s reliance on import, enhance fertiliser availability and affordability and create jobs over a 4-year period.

Mr Etuh told the President that from 3 blending plants operating at 40 per cent capacity in 2016, today Nigeria has 44 blending plants most of which are operating at full capacity.

The FEPSAN leader added that from being an unbankable sector that was on the verge of bankruptcy, the members of the association in the last 3 months alone have been able to raise bank guarantees and funding of close to N100 billion.