By Modupe Gbadeyanka
President/Chief Executive Officer of Dangote Group, Mr Aliko Dangote, has predicted that Nigeria will be out of its present economic recession “at about the first quarter of next year.”
The Africa’s richest man believes Nigeria has all it takes to bounce back, pointing out that the private sector in the country was huge.
Mr Dangote made these comments on Monday when he hosted staff, participants and some members of alumni of Lagos Business School (LBS) at his Dangote Refinery in the Lekki Free Trade Zone, Lagos.
The business mogul, who delivered a lecture titled ‘The Role of Business in Driving Sustainable Development in Africa-The Story of Dangote Group’, said the country must pay serious attention to agriculture in order to reduce importation.
Nigeria currently depends of foods from other nations to feed its citizens. This has weakened the Naira in the foreign exchange market. Most Nigerians also have confidence in imported goods, neglecting its locally made goods.
At Monday’s event, Mr Dangote stressed the role of businesses in the acceleration of the Nigerian and African economy.
He submitted that, “I personally believe we will be out of recession at about the first quarter of next year, Nigeria has what it takes, and the private sector is huge in Nigeria. The government should not focus on any business what the government should focus on, is tax collection.”
“Today in Nigeria we have 60 percent more arable land than in China, yet most of what we consume we are importing, we must drastically change and diversify the economy if not we will be in trouble. We are the only African country that is not self-sufficient, we need to focus and move into agriculture,” he said.
During the occasion, which ended with a question and answer session with Mr Dangote, the guests were given a guided tour of the ongoing construction of the $12 billion Dangote refinery grounds which includes a petrochemical project, gas pipeline project and a fertilizer project.
Dr Henrietta Onwuegbuzie, LBS Entrepreneurship Faculty, who facilitated the visit to the refinery, said the purpose of the visit was to inspire participants and allow them see how they can also contribute to the growth of Nigeria.
“I believe the visit has a powerful effect in terms of inspiring the participants, for me it is important we develop impact driven executives, entrepreneurs and business owners; this is one way of getting them really inspired by seeing how they can contribute to accelerating the development of Nigeria” she said.
Participants in attendance were extremely grateful for the opportunity and very pleased with the knowledge they received.
Ify Ukachukwu, Executive Director, Rexons Industries Limited (OMP 22) said “the visit was very gratifying, I am happy I got the opportunity to learn about the importance of the manufacturing industry from Dangote, especially with the current economic situation of Nigeria.”
For Jeffery Olaleye, CEO, Frame Engineering (EMBA 18) the visit allowed him realise that there are various business opportunities which entrepreneurs can tap into.
“It is a bundle of knowledge and investment, this visit enabled me to understand the importance of diversification, it has also opened my eyes to a lot of opportunities which I will like to tap into,” he said.
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