President of Dangote Group, Mr. Aliko Dangote has assured the business community in Nigeria that the current effort of the Federal Government to develop other sectors of the economy in place of oil will yield the desired expectation.
Dangote, while speaking with members of a business group who visited him in the spirit of the Eid-el-Fitri said that the situation the nation was passing through can be attributed to the many years of over dependence on oil to the disadvantage of other sectors and with the crash of the oil price in the international market, the nation’s number one source of revenue was no longer sufficient leading to shortage of funds.
He said, however, the nation would come out strongly from the current economic downturn given the present government’s diversification moves which will not only boost the country as a producing nation but also with many sources of revenue which will impact Nigerians positively.
But he warned that government effort may not yield immediate result but surely better life will come. “We just have to be patient and do our own bit because government alone cannot do it.”
He added that the current situation in the international oil market provides the best opportunity for Nigeria to diversify her economy, capitalizing on the agriculture sector. He also counselled the state governors to use this opportunity just like the Federal Government is currently doing to diversify the economy.
Mr. Dangote said, “I believe this is the best period in the history of our country to actually diversify our economy, rather than seeing the current happenings from a negative perspective.
“It was under this same kind of situation that countries like Brazil, transformed their economies, and today they have become one of the leading economies in the world.
“We are luck that the glut we are talking about only affects the oil sector, and does not affect commodities which we have the capacity to export in the agriculture sector” he noted.
The business tycoon further state that the northern part of the country possesses vast potentials in the field of agriculture, therefore, state governments in the region should be more practical in order to transform the sector, making a reference that even China which is the biggest economy today cannot boast of arable land that Nigeria possess.
“Also in the south, we have good soil that produce most of the fruits we import, cocoa, palm oil, are before now our mainstay in the South. What we need is for the government at all levels to make maximum use of the available resources to address the issue of poverty, and particularly, the high level of unemployment, they must put in place policies that can attract investors within and outside the country,” he added.
Dangote disclosed his intention to create over 200,000 new jobs through some of his investments in the agric sector in the northern part of the country between now and 2018.
He said his company has commenced the production of rice in Jigawa at a competitive level, as part of the national effort to be self-sufficient in rice production.
“Dangote Group is working to increase yield of rice per hectare from the present 1.4 to maximum 2 tonnes per hectare in Jigawa state.
“Already, a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) has been signed by the Dangote Group to produce rice in Jigawa on a rice value chain, from planting to retaining. The company will be cultivating 16,000 hectares, as well as develop an out-grower scheme, using the same technology, and the same arrangement to produce another 16,000 hectares,” he stated.
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