It appears that the government is more excited about Dangote’s crude oil refinery than the man himself.

The federal government is begging Africa’s richest man, Aliko Dangote to complete his proposed refinery by 2019.

The Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Ibe Kachikwu, on Monday appealed to Dangote Group to expedite work and ensure it comes on stream at the proposed time.

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Kachikwu made this appeal in Lagos during his visit to the site of the Dangote refinery.

The minister commended Dangote for embarking on the project - “The challenge I give you as I leave here today will be one of time. I see your timing in terms of December 2019.

“But I am sure you will understand if I tell you that the refinery component should come earlier. I have made very frank commitment to Nigerians that I must exit importation of petroleum products by 2019, and I am going to keep to it. Please, continue to push the envelope and see how we can do this,” Kachikwu pleaded.

Kachikwu is banking on the multi-billionaire to end fuel importation in 24 months.

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The minister urged Dangote to tell his engineers to go back to the drawing board and try to make the refinery come on stream earlier than the end of 2019.

“Where do we come in as government? I think the first thing is that we must look seriously at whatever incentives this business needs.

“You cannot be investing $14 billion in a country without sufficient incentives to drive the business,” Kachikwu added.