By NAOMI UZOR
The President of Dangote Group, Alhaji Aliko Dangote, has said that the Group is poised to make an additional investment totaling $US 34.7 billion in the economy by 2017.
He also said the cement arm of the group will commission an additional 10 million metric ton capacity in Nigeria by mid 2014 with an additional plan to also invest US $4.7 billion over the next four years in order to ensure that cement supply stays ahead of demand.
In a keynote address during the just ended Nigeria’53rd Independence Anniversary Lecture, organised by the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry, LCCI, Dangote said, the Nigerian financial sector has demonstrated its ability to support big ticket industrial projects – the most recent being the US$9 billion refinery project by Dangote Group and is poised to invest $US 34.7 billion by 2017.
“Private sector participation is growing in areas such as fertilisers, petrochemicals, etc. “Indigenous entrepreneurs now dominate some sectors that were at inception controlled by foreign firms, federal and state government, namely, financial services, cement, petroleum marketing; the upstream oil & gas sector,” he said
Continuing, he said: “Agriculture continued as the lifeblood of the economy (accounting for 65 percent of GDP and 70 percent of exports).
Cocoa, cotton, groundnuts, oil palm products, and rubber were the principal export crops in the 1960s (and early 1970s). Agriculture largely provided the foreign exchange that was utilised in importing raw materials, capital & consumer goods; as well as funding basic infrastructure needs. Food security was achieved – not just because peasant farmers were able to produced enough to feed the entire population (but also because Nigerians had not yet developed the palate to consume what they did not produce.”
Dangote said in setting an agenda for the next decade, government should improve the business climate and continuously benchmark our business environment against “best-in-class” investment destinations, implement the recently unveiled Nigeria Industrial Revolution Plan, support the new investors in the power sector to ensure they “hit the ground running” and provide the kind of outcomes Nigerians desire.
He said their investment in agriculture is driven by our desire to create jobs for thousands of Nigerians and that It will increase their workforce from its present level of 26,000 employees to 750,000 employees .