The President of the Dangote Group, Alhaji Aliko Dangote, has said the diversification of the Nigerian economy needs to be achieved urgently, following Monday’s crash in the price of crude oil.
Dangote, said this on Wednesday in Abuja, while speaking at the ‘Going for Growth 2.0,’ organized by the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN.
Recalling that the talk about diversification has been on the front-burner since his sojourn into Lagos, Africa’s richest man said: “The diversification of this economy is very important, in fact, we are late. Since 1979 that I came to Lagos, people have been talking about the diversification of the Nigerian economy. You can only diversify the economy through manufacturing and agriculture.
“Manufacturing actually creates a lot of jobs, creates middle class and also transforms countries. These are areas we need to really focus on. But, you need backward integration or import substitution to achieve this,” he said.
He, however, rued the fact the majority of the products used in Nigeria are imported when Nigeria has all she needs to produce for the entire nation and expand Nigeria’s economy.
Dangote noted that Nigeria has a readily available market, due to her huge population and stressed the need for the government to remove factors that have continued to militate against the manufacturing sector.
According to him, providing basic infrastructures such as road and power infrastructure would have the government effectively diversify the economy from crude oil.
While saying that Nigeria is the largest exporter of cement, he added that Nigeria will soon become the largest exporter of crude, upon completion of the Dangote refinery, as well as the largest exporter of fertilizers. This, he said, are pointers to the fact that Nigeria has all it takes to be a manufacturing country and not just consumers.
Dangote seized the occasion to thank the Central Bank for providing finance for manufacturers to procure machines for production purposes.
Recall that crude oil price had slumped by 30 per cent to about $30 per barrel on Monday but edged higher to $37 per barrel on Tuesday. This development forced the federal government to call for an emergency meeting for a review of the 2020 budget as well as the need to fully diversify the Nigerian economy.