The recurring fuel scarcity may soon become a thing of the past, as Africa’s richest man and Dangote Group President; Aliko Dangote has declared an intention, to move into the petroleum refinery terrain, in a bid to boost the nation’s relevance in an area strongly dominated by only multinational corporations.
The Group President disclosed this at the Four Seasons Hotels, Hamilton Mew, London few weeks ago, before an international audience, consisting of international investors, diplomats and Nigerians in diasporas, stressing that Nigeria had undertaken certain laudable reforms, that have subsequently transform it into a first country of choice, for investors with the eyes on bumper harvests.
“Whether you are an international diplomat or an investor or a consultant making waves in the course of development, whatever it is, Nigeria should be in your focus”, he counselled, in an address delivered on his behalf, by the Dangote Group Executive Director, Ahmed Mansur, noting that Government’s disposition and policies in the last seven years, have laid solid foundation, anchored on encouraging legal frame work and a growing democracy, to create strong platform, for Public Private Partnership (PPP) to thrive.
Pointing out that while the country may actually be sharing a similarity of challenges with other African countries, Nigeria, with a population of about 170 to 174 million people, no doubt, enjoys the edge, as a continental market leader, with an increasingly growing new opportunities, for focused players; citing the Procter and Gamble, the Stallion Group, amongst others as worthy examples.
Highlighting that the Goverenment had seemingly reinforced in the last two years with desirable reforms of various sectors, alongside the reforms of public institutions so as to encourage facilities and infrastructural development, Aliko Dangote maintained that a trend which probably began some 20 years ago, has finally been buoyed and fueled by “a prism to the rule of law” in addition, to many incentives designed to boost private sector participation, without compromising the symbolic importance of regional integration, job protection and economic well being.
“No doubt, the future for a private investor is very bright”, he declared as he took a bird’s eye view of his own towering organization, pointing out that the Group which started as a mere trading outfit in the 70’s is today, a big manufacturing company, of the very products like cement, sugar, flour and salt, which it had imported and distributed, in the very beginning.
“The Dangote group started in the 70s as a trading group; importing and distributing commodities that included cement, sugar, rice and salt. By late 80s and early 90s, the group was the leading bulk trader of rice flour and sugar.
“By the mid 90s however, the group was transformed into a big manufacturing company handling goods which it had hitherto being importing and distributing.
Today the Dangote group is one of the largest companies in Africa with strong physical presence in about 14 to 15 countries”, he disclosed further, as the sugar arm alone, the Dangote Sugar has the capacity of producing about 124 million metric tons; thereby making it the largest sugar refining company in Sub Saharan Africa and, second largest in the world; with the company effectively enjoying about 65 percent of sugar market in Nigeria.
But while it’s salt wing may currently be producing a combine total capacity of not less than 600,000 metric tons per annum, the Group through its Gboko, Obajana and Ibeshe outlets in Ikorodu, has a combined installed capacity to produce no fewer than 20 million metric tons of cement; even as additional efforts were being embarked, to increase these capacities, for upward achievement of additional 15 million metric ton between this year and next year in the area of cement.
But while the laudable efforts of “also investing outing lives in Africa, via growing investments in about 14 to 15 other countries, the gesture when completed between 2015 and 2017, may also place the Dangote Cement among the largest producers in the world.
But beyond this, the Group he posited further, is as a matter of fact, equally going into other areas, which would include first, the petroleum refining, as it has already secured a $9 million investment mandate, to refine crude oil, produce petrol chemicals as well as fertilizers; especially, with a takeoff capacity, to produce 450,000 barrels per day of petrol chemical, thereby equating a total capacity of all the petrol chemical companies in Nigeria are presently producing now.
While a combination of the power of vision, and altruistic love for the people may be responsible for a rejuvenated intervention in agriculture, culminating in the acquisition of about 260,000 hectares of land in seven places, for sugarcane plantation and production.
“We are going into other sectors including oil and gas, for use in homes as well as generation of electricity”, he also told the high caliber audience, noting that though Nigeria remains one of the largest producers of gas in Africa, the privileged position was however not being presently optimized.
Wooing the international business community further, the President of the Group informed his international audience, with the Minister of Trade, Industry and Investment, Olusegun Aganga and the Customs Comptroller General, Dr. Dikko Inde Abdullah, the CEO of NAFDAC, the CEO of Sapids Groups, etc, etc as the local representatives of Federal Government in attendance, that the Federal Government was presently, vigorously pursuing policies that would encourage African regional integration, enhance employment opportunities and economic and social interaction across board adding that government was stillgrowing other opportunities which will make investors to see Nigeria as a very fertile ground, ready for bumper harvest, dividends, as current policies were in tandem with the central focus of government on NEPAD goals.–International Trade Monitor