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Aliko Dangote :Patriot extraordinaire

  Dangote, the quintessential manufacturer, entrepreneur and all-time businessman raises a hope for resuscitating and rescuing Nigeria’s economy from comatose

As a businessman, he is constantly on the move. But beyond building a first-class and enduring business empire , Aliko Dangote is also an extraordinary patriot whose towering influence on manufacturing and commerce in Nigeria, remains unassailable.

Occasionally, he may be accused ignorantly  of running a monopoly but some of his critics also do not lose sight of his patriotism and great business ideas. Without doubt, these great ideals and more, define this quintessential businessman who is always conquering new territories.  

 For many years now, he has remained Africa’s richest man by dint of hard work, dedication, bold and honest application of knowledge and resources, ability to innovate and his penchant for excellence. Dangote also has the reputation for always grabbing his chances and this has paid off handsomely.  

At the root of Dangote’s investments and interest in a better Nigeria, is patriotism. Clearly, nationalism and profit drive his cement company, refinery and many other businesses. 

Before Dangote found himself in the Cement Industry, the two biggest Cement Companies in the World were Operating small plants – the biggest at that time was about 300,000 MT per annum. These two Companies were Blue Circle ( UK) and La farge ( France). They later merged.

They were producing small quantities of Cement in Nigeria and flooding the market with Cement from their other plants around the world, at the same time, they were looking at us eye to eye telling us that they are investors in Nigeria.

They were not investors in the real sense of it ;they  were pure  mercantilists  promoting   governmental regulation  of  their nations’   economy for the purpose of augmenting their  state powers  at the expense of rival national powers; their belief was that their  trade balances must be “favourable,” meaning an excess of exports over imports.  In those days ,developing countries like Nigeria   were expected to  serve as markets for exports and as suppliers of raw materials to the mother country  while was forbidden.  .It was a zero-sum game  in which a gain for one side entails a corresponding loss for the other side

 However when  Dangote got involved in the industry the game changed .  Firtd=s ,he  decided to increase capacity of the plant he bought (Benue Cement) to 2,000,000 MT per annum. Then he built a new plant from scratch ( Obajana 5,000,000 MT per annum).

The next thing that happened is that all other companies had to follow suit. Today we have capacity to export Cement.

The above is a complete Local Investor. He has seen the opportunity that the Foreigners knew, but was never in their interest, and he took the opportunity.

Secondly, the Same Dangote is building one of the largest Refineries in the world in Nigeria.

He is not Smarter than Shell, Mobil, British Petroleum, Total, Agip etc. They were all shortlisted to build private refineries but their excuse till today is that the political environment is not favorable . The issue is that all these foreign companies have been operating in Nigeria for more than 60 yrs and never saw it fit to Build a Refinery ( except a 20,000 or so Refinery in PH by Shell in the 60’s for the same reason as above).

The late elder statesman, Ahmed Joda   was a Nigerian administrator who rose through the administrative cadre of the Northern regional government and then the federal civil service to retire as Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Industries once exposed the mindset of these foreign multinationals  According to him ,instead engaging in manufacturing or refinery  , “they prefer to take the crude oil to the refineries around the world, refine it and then sell it back to us. Real reason; they don’t care about you, me or our Country. They will rather keep us where they want us.”

He said “the only way we can get out of poverty is to empower our own people to prosper and build an economy. In short, I always say; create 10 to 15 Dangotes and see what will happen in our Country.

We need to empower people and guide them to become what we want, and if any of them is going astray, then seize everything and then reinvest in another.”

However he said “a  system can be put in place to monitor anyone government invests in , modalities can be set up to make this succeed.”

He said “there is no country in the world that has moved out of poverty by; FDI ( foreign direct investment). Japan, China, Korea, Indonesia, Malaysia etc all invested in the people and local capacity. They Thought Out of The Box and disregarded the Western Bullshit of FDI. See where they are today” .

 The above views may not be farfetched . Today , with  Dangote’s   intervention in cement manufacturing in-country, Nigeria is no longer import dependent. Aside this, his giant stride is saving foreign exchange for Nigeria and positioning the country for great exploits. Dangote is also building one of the biggest refineries in the world, here in Nigeria. And his incursion into the oil and gas sector is a great news that gladdens the heart of everyone. It also brings to question, the activities of big foreign oil majors in Nigeria who did not deem it necessary to build refineries to refine the crude they have exploited for over 60 years.

Again, out of patriotism, Dangote has created, and he is still creating thousands of jobs across the length and breadth of Nigeria and even beyond. In addition, he is empowering people and creating new business frontiers for now and the future. And it is obvious from every indication, that this manufacturer is deliberately opening up Nigerian villages and towns with his products that are visible in every household irrespective of social status.

For the government and the people of Nigeria, the gains from Dangote’s many business interests are immeasurable. For instance, his refinery has the potential to unleash wealth and more employment opportunities with byproducts from crude oil. With his interventions, Nigeria is also going to experience a new lease of life from foreign direct investment. Added to this is a predictable economy and a Naira that will become stable and respected in due course.

The  refinery has continued to raise better for a resuscitation of the country economy currently in comatose .The Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, has concluded plans to strengthen the Naira, and by extension the nation’s economy through the $15 billion  

Specifically, the CBN governor, Mr. Godwin Emefiele, who visited the Project at Ibeju Lekki, Lagos, recently , said: “We have taken the decision to sell the crude to the Refinery in Naira because we want to impact the economy.

“We also hope that by the time the Refinery starts to refine, and sell its petroleum products in Naira, the local currency will be stronger, and by extension the nation’s economy, which is still oil-driven.”

According to him, this is expected to help Nigeria save about 41 per cent of its foreign exchange that is being expended on the importation of refined petroleum products. 

Emefiele said the federal government currently spent about 40 percent of its dollar earnings on the importation of petroleum products, putting pressure on the  naira to dollar rate .The CBN governor stated this on the sidelines of the recent  International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank annual meetings in Washington DC

“By the time the Dangote Refinery begins operation, it would be a major FX saving source for Nigeria,” he said.

“Right now, the overall forex we spend on imported items, the importation of petroleum products consumes close to 30 percent (by the time you add diesel, aviation fuel, petrol and the rest of that).

“The Dangote Refinery has the capacity to produce 650,000 barrels per day. There is a domestic component that is about 455,000 barrels. Even if the 455,000 is what is sold to Dangote in naira alone, it is going to be major forex saving for Nigeria.

“If you look at the cost of freight alone, it is a major saving for Nigeria. That is because if we have to go to Europe or other parts of the world to bring in petroleum products where we pay heavily in freight and in stocking those products in the high sea before we offload them, Nigerians would benefit a lot from the Dangote Refinery.

 “That project is one of Nigeria’s backward integration programmes, and we are very proud of it.”

The CBN governor added that the petrochemical part of the Dangote Refinery would save five 5 percent FX from polyethene and polypropylene granules and another two percent from fertiliser.

“On the petrochemical, it is also expected to commence about same period next. That petrochemical plant will be producing 900,000 tonnes of polyethene and polypropylene granules. Nigeria’s annual consumption here is less than 200,000,” he added

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