As the nation’s economy comes under pressure due to the paucity of funds occasioned by the fall in the price of crude oil in the international market, President of Dangote Group, Aliko Dangote has challenged private investors to rise up to the challenges by initiating fresh investments in manufacturing and agriculture.
Dangote who lamented over dependence on oil to the detriment of other viable sectors, urged Nigerian and international businessmen to lead in the task of diversification of the economy as the only viable option to the current economic quagmire.
Addressing some business executives in Lagos on the new initiatives of his pan African conglomerate, he stated that it has become apparent that Nigeria needed to move away from a monolithic economy that thrives only on trading of oil and gas.
He explained that the situation in Nigeria in which states government could not meet their obligation to pay salaries and federal government not having enough to meet its needs called for concerted efforts to take drastic step that will move the economy away from its present one sector dominance to other areas like agriculture, mining and manufacturing.
According to him, his group apart from building a refinery and a petrochemical company, is also into fertilizer plant construction to help in agric sector while on the other hand, it has also invested heavily in rice cultivation.
He explained that all these ventures are capital intensive but with prospects for massive job opportunities which Nigeria needs at this time.
Dangote also urged Nigerians to see the current challenges being faced by the country as a passing phase which will make the country to be more economically stronger in the future.
He expressed his abiding faith in Nigeria as an economically viable nation, noting that Nigeria still remains the destination of choice for investments despite the challenges.
“I have always said it that Nigeria is a good place to investment. God has given us in Nigeria what many other countries don’t have and they keep searching for it”, Dangote said.
“We have got fertile land for agriculture, we have the minerals resources and we have oil. All we need to do is to harness them for our good.
“It shouldn’t stop us from investing. It’s just a passing phase. Other countries that are referred to as developed started from somewhere. They all experienced some of these challenges in the past. So I want us to see these challenges as obstacles towards attaining greatness”.
Dangote told the business executives that it was for this reasons that he had continued investing in Nigeria’s economy because if Nigerians do not invest in their country, other people would not come.
“They will want to see our success story before they can come”, he added.
Dangote also informed the customers of the ongoing efforts to refine the service being provided for the customers, saying going forward the customers would see a change and delivery of the products would be seamless and without hassles.
He took time to answer questions and observations raised by the executives who commended the business mogul for his doggedness in investment locally as opposed to others who chose to take money away from the country.
Also speaking, his honorary Adviser, Engineer Joseph Makoju told the delegation that Dangote Cement is more than ready to meet and exceed expectations of its customers, saying the production capacity expansions in all its plants are intended to make cement more available everywhere.
According to him, the company has put in place certain processes to serve the distributors better than before. He referred to the payment for the bonus at half year instead of yearly as one of the new steps to better serve them.
It would be recalled that Dangote Cement is adding additional two lines to the present 6 million metric ton capacity per annum at Ibese to shore up its capacity to 12 million while additional 3 million capacity line is being added to Obajana plant to bring total capacity to 13.25 million tons per annum.
It has also commissioned its offshore plant in Ethiopia, while Zambia, Senegal and Cameroon are next on the line consecutively.
Also the Dangote group recently signed an MOU with the Federal Ministry of Agriculture, a deal which will see Dangote providing N165 billion for rice cultivation in five states as part of the Agric revolution of the transformation agenda of the federal government.
Earlier, Dangote has delved into petrochemical industry signing agreement for fund with banks to set a refinery in Lagos thus making him the first private Nigerian to obtain license and commence actual construction of the refinery as many who had earlier obtained license for same have failed to commence physical preparation.