Dangote calls for diversification of economy
As part of strategies to diversify the nation’s export base as well create more value for its crude oil, foremost industrialist and President/Chief Executive of the Dangote Group, Alhaji Aliko Dangote, has tasked government to begin the production of petroleum products for export.
He made the call in a keynote address titled: ‘Nigeria Beyond Oil’ which he presented at the 9th All Nigerian Editors’ Conference held in Asaba, Delta State at the weekend. Dangote, who was represented by his Chief of Staff, Engineer Joseph Makoju, said that with the discovery of crude oil in many African nations, fall of oil prices in the international market, and exploration of alternative sources of energy such as shale oil, the nation should seek ways of enhancing its economic sustainability.
One of the strategies he identified is refining and production of diverse petroleum products for export. He stated with the creation of industries dedicated to the production of petroleum based products, there should be conscious effort by government and stakeholders to create a demand for these products in the local economy.
He explained that Nigeria has a large population which translates to huge market if harnessed, adding that countries like China and India relied on their population to create a huge domestic market for products. Dangote also called on government to use the nation’s abundant petroleum resources to drive the industrialization of the economy, adding that it is only through industrialization that value is added to raw materials.
He said: “We believe industrialization is the key to Nigeria’s economic prosperity and we also believe Nigerians should drive the industrialization process. As a practical demonstration of our business philosophy, we have massive investments in the real sector both within and outside the country. Currently, we have over 13 subsidiaries in Nigeria and operations in 14 other African countries.”
Following the success of the Dangote Group, he said foreign investors now see Nigeria as a beautiful bride that should be courted. To achieve her goal of industrialization, he said Nigeria needs massive infrastructural upgrade, effective regulation and legislation and value re-orientation. He also harped on the need to invest in skills acquisition programmes with more emphasis on research and technology.
He identified the absence of highly trained and experienced human capital to drive growth as one of the major challenges to industrial growth in Nigeria, adding that the Dangote Academy of Learning and Development was set up in 2010 to address this shortcoming.