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Do away with propensity of importing what can be produced locally—Dangote

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The President of Dangote Group, Alhaji Aliko Dangote has given fresh antidote to the prevailing recession, saying the best bet is for Nigerians to do away with importing what can be produced locally.

He said, only this will halt the massive erosion of foreign exchange which is frustrating the value of naira and pushing up inflation.

Speaking as a guest at the 44th Annual General Meeting (AGM) of the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN) in Abuja recently, Dangote argued that it rests on the real sector to bail the nation out of high unemployment rate.

He argued that “The industrialisation drive in Nigeria continued, albeit with challenges and recorded appreciable gains, until the early 70s when the country experienced an oil boom resulting in an upsurge in revenue from crude oil exports. This was the genesis of the dependence of the Nigerian economy on crude oil, which resulted in a rapid shift in focus from industrialisation to crude oil exports and from production to consumption. It was, therefore, not surprising that Nigeria soon became a mono-product economy almost completely dependent on crude oil for government revenue and its foreign exchange earnings”.

“An industrialised nation is one that has transited from the extraction or cultivation of primary raw materials to the manufacturing of household and industrial goods. Evidence has shown that countries producing industrial goods are usually more economically prosperous than those that are solely dependent on the sale of primary raw materials.

“It is worth emphasising that diversifying the Nigerian economy does not mean we should neglect our oil and gas sector. On the contrary, the oil and gas sector needs to be deepened and expanded to enable us unlock the full benefits in the hydrocarbon value chain. Nigeria needs to produce sufficient refined petroleum products for its domestic economy as well as for exports. Natural gas must be produced in adequate amounts not just to serve as an energy source but also as industrial feedstock for the production of a wide range of intermediate and finished products across several industries. The creation of these inter-industry linkages in key sectors of the economy will further strengthen the country’s industrial base.

Government’s role

“Although the diversification of the economy has to be private sector-led, government at both the national and sub-national levels have a huge role to play in attracting and facilitating long term investments. Some of the key steps needed to be taken by government include the articulation of clear sector-specific policies along with incentive packages that are commensurate with the risk inherent in each sector. Closely allied to this is the issue of consistent implementation of industrial policies. Policy inconsistency destabilises industrial production plans and erodes investor confidence.  For instance, the suspension of the Negotiable Duty Credit Certificate (NDCC) to exporters and non-payment of existing claims has discouraged non-oil exports and frustrated contracts entered into with overseas buyers.

Continuing, Dangote noted that there should be more support for small and medium scale manufacturers since many Nigerian manufacturers are relatively small with limited capital to support their investments. Government has to develop industrial clusters with requisite infrastructure for this category of businesses. They should also have access to soft loans, and research and development support.

“The non-oil exports should be given a boost to bring in much-needed foreign exchange by ratifying and implementing the road map recently developed by the Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC).


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