Media men had a piece of Aliko Dangote last weekend. And when they were done many appreciated why he is one of the richest in the
In an interactive session with senior
editors Dangote discussed state of the nation
while explaining some details in his businesses
that are geared towards a better life for
Nigerians. His tremendous knowledge in many
areas awed the audience.
His take on Oil subsidy
The issue with subsidy is that government
needs to block all loopholes. If there’s no
subsidy, it will affect our foreign exchange,
we’ll end up buying a dollar at N500, because
there’s no VAT on petroleum products. That’s
why the import of petroleum products is
taking about 30% of our foreign reserve. We
just need to make sure that there’s no
siphoning of money. The refining business
requires volume. If you don’t have a massive
volume, there’s no way you’ll make money.
Most of the refineries in Africa are running
at a big loss. It’s not possible for government
officials to successfully manage oil businesses.
It’s good enough if they remove the subsidy,
but you can check with neighbouring countries
like Senegal. If a poor person in Senegal can
afford to pay subsidy, why can’t a poor
person in Nigeria afford to pay. I think there
must be something for the masses, which
should be in terms of power, social insurance,
good education system, good roads etc.
On refinery
We are building a refinery and our refinery
will make more money if there is subsidy. We
have changed the size of the refinery three
times because we are looking at the maximum
we can do that has ever been done. We started
with about 400,000, then we shifted to
500,000. Now, we took it to 650,000 barrels per
day. That’s the biggest ever single line thresh
of refinery. It’s a huge plant and it comes
with a lot of challenges, but at the end of the
day, it will save us a substantial amount of
money. Presently, about 38% of our foreign
exchange goes to petroleum products, so I
think that will totally eliminate it and
eliminate all the imports. We will also be able
to export and we won’t do it all by ourselves.
Other refineries will produce. Even if other
refineries are not working, we’ll be able to
satisfy 100% local demand and we’ll be able
to export massively. Five to ten people can
make Nigeria a great economy. We have to
encourage Nigerians to invest at home.
On Agriculture
I think there will not be an improvement in
job creation unless people go into Agriculture.
I know even in Agriculture, there’s money. We
are also doing four sugarcane factories. We
want to export sugar. We are doing a lot of
sugar and rice and I think that in the next
four to five years, we’ll be able to create
about 180,000 jobs.
There are only two countries in the whole of
West Africa that eat parboiled rice – Nigeria
and Sierra-Leone. Other neighbouring
countries eat white rice. So, what’s the
business of Republic of Benin collecting ships
of parboiled rice to Niger.
How can Niger eat two billion tons of rice? We
have no business importing sugar, there’s so
much land and water here. God has given us
these things and we have to use them. Today,
Ethiopia is growing rapidly, but the mainstay
of their economy is agriculture.