President of Dangote Group, Aliko Dangote, has urged Nigerians to remain hopeful, assuring that there will be light at the end of the tunnel with efforts being made by the Federal Government to develop other sectors of the economy long neglected in favour of oil.
The business mogul gave the advice while speaking with a business group which paid him a visit in the spirit of the Eid-el-fitri. He said that the situation the nation is passing through was as a result of years of over-dependence on oil to the detriment of other sectors and that with the crash of the oil price in the international market the nation’s receipt also crashed, leading to the paucity of funds.
Dangote expressed optimism that the nation would come out strongly from the economic quagmire given the present government’s diversification moves, which he said will not only reposition Nigeria as a producing nation but also with many sources of revenue which will in the long run impact positively on the people.
The renowned entrepreneur, however, cautioned that the turnaround could not be automatic. “It will take time, but surely better life will come. We just have to be patient and do our own bit because government alone cannot do it,” he said.
According to Dangote, the current reality prevailing in the international oil market provides the best opportunity for the nation to diversify the economy, leveraging on agriculture. He also advised state governors to take advantage just as theFederal Government has commenced process of diversification at the national level.
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 lucky 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 agricultural sector.”
Dangote stated that since the northern part of the country possesses vast potentials in the field of agriculture, state governments in the region must make more practical efforts to transform the sector. China, which is the biggest economy today, cannot boast of arable land that Nigeria has, he said.
“Also in the South, we have good soil that produce most of the fruits we import. Cocoa, palm oil were 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 stated.
Dangote revealed 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.
According to him, the Dangote Group has commenced the production of rice in Jigawa at competitive price, as part of the national quest 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, and as well as develop an out-grower scheme using the same technology, and the same arrangement to produce another 16,000 hectares,” he stated.
Source: News Express.
•Photo shows Aliko Dangote.