By Udeme Akpan, with agency report
Africa’s richest man, Aliko Dangote, said yesterday he would step up exports of cement and other commodities from Nigeria this year, as he focuses on foreign markets to boost sales and generate much-needed hard currency.
Dangote told Reuters that he expected to have eight million tonnes of cement to start exporting from July and was commissioning a 650,000 barrel per day, bpd, refinery in Lagos— to be Africa’s biggest— next year.
The export drive would expand further from 2020, Dangote added.
He said: “By next year, we will start exporting more than two million tonnes of ammonia out of our three million tonnes’ capacity and export more than 35 percent of petroleum products and about 30 million tonnes of cement.”
He did not identify which foreign markets he was targeting. Availability of hard currency in Nigeria would not be an issue provided oil prices stayed relatively buoyant.
Dangote, who according to Forbes is currently worth $10.5 billion, said: “If the price of oil stabilises at $60, I don’t think we would have any problem.
“We are looking forward and making sure that we supply more forex in the domestic market.”
Meanwhile, Aliko Dangote Foundation, yesterday, launched a programme in Zamfara State, doling out food items running into several millions of naira to support victims of insurgency.
Group Executive Director, Government and Strategic Relations, Mansur Ahmed, who presented the food items on behalf of the Group President, Aliko Dangote, said Aliko Dangote Foundation was supporting government and traditional leaders in meeting the IDPs’ needs.
Ahmed said Dangote was very disturbed about the plight of the displaced persons and quickly directed that everything possible be done to provide succour.
He added that the company was building a 200,000-ton capacity rice mill in Maradun and that when completed this year it would create hundreds of job opportunities for the people of Zamfara State.
Responding, Emir of Maradun, Muhammad Garba Tambari, said he was highly elated as the company is the first to intervene by providing food for displaced persons, commended Dangote for the gesture and promised to help secure his investments in the Emirate.