SAN FRANCISCO, June 27, (THEWILL) – Africa’s richest man and President of Dangote group, Alhaji Aliko Dangote has spoken up on the opportunities for wealth in Nigeria, asserting that there is money to be made in every part of the country.
This was as he rued the growing unemployment rate in Nigeria, which he said gives him sleepless nights, more than the success or failure of any of his businesses.
Speaking on the sideline of a meeting with business leaders/chief executive officers from Nigeria and Kenya held at the Dangote Lekki free-trade zone in Lagos, he stated that it is the collective responsibility of both the Government and entrepreneurs to create jobs for the teeming Nigerian youths as a way of solving restiveness and agitations in the country.
While describing Nigeria as a scratched card that has not been touched but would be useless after loading it, the industrialist said, “Nigeria is like a recharge card. Anywhere you touch is money. You should also have visions and be focused”.
He also harped on diversification as the major solution to the unemployment challenges the country is facing, noting however that successive governments had always paid lip service to job creation and diversification.
According to him: “Since 1978, when I came to Lagos, government has been talking about diversification of the economy which has not happened up till now. It is also sad that nobody is challenging anybody about how many jobs he or she has created.
“In reality though, it is not solely government duty to provide jobs. It is also the duty of entrepreneurs, but government at all levels must provide the enabling environment. When there is no jobs, people get frustrated, and I can tell you that the Boko Haram insurgency is a product of frustration. The way to go is diversification. Nigeria should diversify its economy, and take crude oil as icing on the cake.”
The business mogul observed that population growth in Nigeria is not abating as population and poverty go together especially in the northern part of the country where limitless procreation is recorded.
He pointed out that while people are scared of investing especially in the recession the nation has found itself, Dangote group has been investing because without investment, there cannot be growth.
He however took cognizance of the fact that some individuals had invested in the past but failed with their businesses owing to inconsistencies in government policies and power challenge.
To mitigate these hurdles, the industrialist said it became necessary to be closer to those in government in order to always exchange ideas on how to improve the economy.
On the issue of power, he stated that his company decided to generate its own power in different countries where it operates, disclosing that it is only in South Africa and Ethiopia where it does not have its own power plants because it relies on power from the national grid.
He listed many world class projects his conglomerates have embarked, including the largest single petroleum refinery in the world with 650,000 barrels per day capacity, and 780 KTPA polypropylene, Africa’s largest urea plant with 3 million tonnes per annum capacity; largest sub-sea pipeline infrastructure in any country in the world with 1,100 kilometres to handle three billion sef of gas per day; world scale gas treatment stations and world class petrochemical complex among others.