Despite the harsh operating environment in the domestic economy occasioned by dearth of adequate infrastructure, the Dangote Group has restated its commitment to job creation and poverty alleviation.
Alhaji Aliko Dangote, President, Dangote Group said that the Group’s continual investment in factories and industries in Nigeria is anchored on patriotism and the need to provide jobs for thousands of Nigeria.
Speaking at an interactive forum with journalists, he said, “If you want to follow what is on the ground, you would not want to invest in Nigeria. When you look at it from the patriotism point of view, you will ask yourself: how did those great countries become great?”
He stressed that lack of infrastructure like power should never be an excuse for entrepreneurs to shy away from investing in the domestic economy. According to him, “when you say you do not want to invest because we do not have adequate power supply, it does not make sense because one day, there will be adequate power supply. At Dangote, as we are establishing our factories, we are also setting up our own power plants. Today, the power we produce in Dangote is a little bit more than 10 percent of what Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN) produces.
We are producing only for our industries. If we had folded our arms and had not gone into large scale industrialization because of lack of power supply, do you know how many Nigerians we would not have been able to employ, how many bags of cement we would be still importing,how much in billions of Naira we would not be paying to government in taxes?
”Dangote stated that turning the fortunes of Nigeria around is not hard but requires patriotism. According to him, Nigeria is blessed immensely with natural resources waiting to be developed.
He said, “Where other countries have mountains of volcanoes, what we have as mountains are green. You can plant things there. We have the best flat land; you can grow anything in the cheapest way. Turning Nigeria around is not really difficult, but all of us have to be patriotic.
If I am not patriotic, there are other countries where I can invest today in cement and make more money than I do here. Nigeria is my home. I cannot change my passport.”
He said “I’m feeling fulfilled that at least I am doing something great for my country. Nigeria is really the best place to invest. It is one of the best places to make money. All over the world it is the best kept secret actually in terms of investment.”
Dangote said he was motivated to create an African success story and to create employment in Nigeria because he believes that entrepreneurship holds the key to the future economic growth of the
continent. He also said he is committed to improving the conditions of those living close to his factories, as part of his philosophy of corporate social responsibility. Dangote added Obajana Cement Plant, one of the largest in the world, plans to double its capacity. This will create more employment opportunities for the people. Dangote is one of the largest private sector employers in Nigeria, with a nationwide workforce of 12,000, a figure that is set to rise with the opening of new factories.
The Dangote Group is a diversified and fully integrated conglomerate with interests across a range of sectors such as cement production; sugar refining; flour milling; pasta production; sack manufacturing; salt production; port operations; and haulage. The group also has interests in oil and gas, real estate and other sectors of the economy.